Rising crime rates have made lurid headlines in recent months. Figures released in late 2016 found many of the largest cities in the nation saw double-digit increases in crime rates. However, reports looking at crime in almost a decade in Austin found levels of offending dropped dramatically under former police chief Art Acevedo.
Acevedo left his job in late 2016 to take a job in Houston. The TV station KXAN noted an overall fall in crime during his time in the job.
The report noted robbery, burglary and theft all fell in Austin from 2007-2015 The reduction in robbery and burglary was close to 40 percent. In the same period, the city’s population grew by 200,000 people.
Violent crimes are often the headline-grabbing offenses. In 2007 there were 31 murders in Austin. The figure for 2015 was 30.
However, not everyone is happy with the crime picture in Austin. KXAN spoke to people in areas like Northwest Hills. Here “crimes of opportunity” appear to have become more common as police resources are concentrated downtown.
Break-ins of cars and homes appear to have become more common in these neighborhoods.
In September, we noted recent trends in crime rates that suggested offending spikes in parts of northern Austin.
Crime Rates Increase in North Austin
The Austin Police Department increased patrols in the area, according to the reports. TV stations suggested thefts were driving crime rates up in North Austin.
KXAN reported violent crime rose in Austin after the killings of five police officers in Dallas over the summer. The murder rate was reportedly up 80 percent on 2015.
There is considerable evidence that a steady decrease in violent crime in America’s cities over the last decade was reversed in 2015 and 2016.
New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice reported that the 2016 murder rate for the largest U.S. cities rose 14 percent from 2015, reported Time.
The Texas cities of Dallas and San Antonio saw major spikes in homicides.
The report’s authors project a 31.5 percent increase in homicides nationwide from 2014 to 2016, although the spike is attributable to just three cities: Baltimore, Chicago, and Houston.
Austin has avoided the scale of drug and gang induced crime seen in cities like Chicago and Baltimore.
If a police officer charged you with a violent crime, it’s imperative that you hire an experienced Austin criminal defense lawyer.