Violent crime is increasing in Texas, according to new figures released by the Texas Department of Public Safety, with many spikes in murders, rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults occurring in large cities.
The Texas Crime Report for 2019 was released this month. It highlights a 0.5% increase in violent offenses year-on-year. The report was compiled from data submitted to the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Uniform Crime Reporting Bureau by more than 1,207 Texas Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police, as of the end of 2019.
Six mass shootings in the Lone Star State drove up the violent crime figure for Texas. The state led the nation in active shooter events last year, with half a dozen of the nation’s 28 active shooter incidents, killing 36 people and wounding 52 others. Texas accounted for three of the nation’s 34 mass attacks in public places in 2019, claiming 33 lives.
A report on Fox 7 noted San Antonio recorded a 13 percent increase in violent crime from 2018 to 2019 while the rise was 12.4 percent in Dallas, and 4.1 percent in Houston. The report noted a majority of violent crimes in urban areas were committed by offenders who had been released from jail; 75 percent in Harris County, 68 percent in Dallas County, and 62 percent in Bexar County.
The report linked a spike in violent crimes in Texas’ biggest cities to offenses committed by Mexican cartels “operating drug transshipment and retail distribution operations within their cities in close collaboration with the gangs that are involved in a substantial amount of the violent crime.”
While the violent crime rate rose by 0.5 percent year-on-year, the report noted a 1.6 percent rise in the number of offenses committed. More than 120,500 violent crimes occurred in Texas in 2019. Assaults comprised 62.7 percent of the figure, robberies 23.9 percent, rapes 12.2 percent, and murders 1.2 percent.
Although homicides make up a small proportion of the overall violent crime rate, killings are rising in Texas. The report noted the reported number of murders committed in Texas in 2019 was 1,403, a 6 percent increase on the previous year. August was the deadliest month.
“The murder rate for Texas in 2019 was 4.8 murders for every 100,000 persons, which is a 4.9% increase from 2018,” the report noted.
Property crimes increase by 1 percent by volume to 685,371 offenses, according to the report. Of these offenses, 72.4 percent were thefts.
The report stated Texas has led the nation in modernizing its response tactics to mass killings in public areas by active shooters.
In the aftermath of prolific attacks in El Paso and Odessa/Midland, Governor Greg Abbott created a multi-disciplinary task force comprised of state legislators and experts to seek ways to better identify and stop mass attacks before they occur. Abbott directed the DPS to liaise with its local, state, and federal partners to avert future attacks. Three mass shootings were prevented in 2019.
The survey records crime trends before the COVID-19 pandemic. However, some publications have linked the coronavirus to increases in violence in 2020.
A report in Reform Austin noted concerns about increases in domestic violence within homes during the lockdown. The report also noted how Houston hit a 5-year high for killings this year. Between March 13 and May 5, there were 57 homicides in Houston, according to the Houston Police Department. The police department also recorded an increase in drug-related homicides in the city.
Violent crimes often carry heavy sentences and prison time. The criminal justice system seeks to make an example out of offenders. Our Dallas-based criminal defense team has represented many people charged with murder and other serious violent offenses and achieved acquittals and other impressive results. Please contact us today if you have been charged with a violent crime.