Homicides Spike 11 Percent in US Cities

By Peek & Toland on May 23, 2017

Violent crime continued to rise in many American cities in 2016, the second year in a row that saw a jump in homicides, aggravated assaults, and robberies.

Data from the Major Cities Chiefs Association pointed to a homicides spike in many major cities in 2016. The increase was compared to the previous year when murders also rose.

While Chicago makes for the most alarming gun crime headlines, Texas cities also saw significant increases in homicides last year.

Homicides spike in major US cities

In Dallas, for example, city officials cited drug crimes and domestic assaults as factors in the increasing crime rates. The Dallas Police Department created a 170-member violent crime task force comprising gang units, K-9, and narcotics.

Some smaller cities with historically low murder rates saw a spike in homicides. For instance, Arlington, Texas, had 4 homicides in 2015 but 18 last year.

The news station KVIA noted significant increases in the homicide rate in Austin and San Antonio last year.

The number of violent deaths in 2016 for Austin was the highest in nearly two decades when the city racked up 39 homicides, the most since 1997.

San Antonio police investigated 151 homicides in 2016. While the percentage increase was not as high as Austin’s, San Antonio has considerably more violent crime.

Homicides Spike in Austin and San Antonio

Drugs and domestic violence fueled San Antonio’s homicides spike, police said.

Various theories are put forward to explain the rise in violent crime. Last year, we noted the perceived link between an influx of cheaper heroin and violent crime.

The Sinaloa Cartel from Mexico was the biggest player in the market. However, the arrest of the gang’s kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman in 2014 is credited with creating more violence. Rival gangs fought to fill the vacuum his gang left behind in U.S. cities.

There are other theories including the so-called “Ferguson effect.” This assumes police are backing off enforcement for fear of provoking racial tensions as occurred in Ferguson, MO in 2014 after a police officer shot dead Michael Brown, an unarmed black man.

Another less well-known theory is advanced in a recent article in Mother Jones which claimed childhood exposure to lead may be linked to juvenile delinquency later in life.

If you have been charged with a homicide or a serious drug offense like trafficking, you will be facing the loss of your liberty. It’s important to contact an experienced Texas criminal defense attorney to protect your rights. Contact us here or call (512) 474-4445.

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Homicides Rise Sharply in Austin and San Antonio

By Peek & Toland on April 21, 2017

Concerns about rising numbers of homicides in Texas cities including Austin and San Antonio last year were not just anecdotal.

Many cities experienced a sharp increase homicides of a magnitude not seen in decades.

A report on the TV station KVIA revealed the number of deaths seen in Austin was the highest in two decades. The city recorded 39 homicides, the most since 1997.

The rise in homicides at 75 percent was second highest of the nation’s major cities after San Diego in California. The highest number of homicides ever recorded in Austin was 52 in 1985 –  the earliest year the FBI had homicide statistics for larger cities.

Austin and San Antonio see homicides rise

Homicides rise in Austin and San Antonio

Austin police said in a report in the Statesman no one particular cause was behind the spike. They pointed to Austin’s rapidly growing population.

San Antonio has experienced one of the largest spikes in homicides in the country. Police investigated 151 killings in 2016. It’s the highest figure in 20 years and a rise of 61 percent on 2015.

The city’s Police Chief William McManus told the San Antonio Express-News a quarter of the homicides were spontaneous. Police figures found 40 percent of the killings to be related to drugs or connected to families or acquaintances.

In January, KSAT reported on measures announced by San Antonio police to curb violent crime.

The San Antonio Police Department implementing an intelligence-driven approach to cutting violent crime in 2017.

McManus said violent crime also increased about 9.2 percent overall year-on-year in the city.

The Police department is creating a new Violent Crime Task Force to bring together disparate units like gang and vice units and narcotics. It will combine their intelligence in a bid to counter violent crime.

Police will focus on targets in San Antonio rather than specific target areas, and go after individuals who are involved in violent crime.

If you have been charged with a violent crime, you are likely to be facing a long time behind bars if convicted. Some murder charges lead to the death penalty being imposed.

Call our experienced Austin criminal defense team today for help at (512) 474-4445.

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