Urban centers across the United States have recorded spikes in violent crime over the last year. Texas is no exception. Fort Worth, Houston, and Austin have experienced some of the biggest increases in the Lone Star State, according to recent statistics.
Violent crimes in Texas comprise homicides, rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults.
According to homicide statistic rates from January through July 2021 collected by The Texan, Austin saw the biggest increase in killings with a homicide rate 68 percent above the year-to-date last year.
The Texan reported Austin’s homicide rate equaled the total number of killings in 2020 total by the end of August, putting the current number at 50 with much of the year remaining. However, the number of killings in Austin is typically less than in larger cities such as Houston and Dallas.
The Texan reported Austin has been hit by a shortage of police officers in recent years. Its police department is 390 officers short of its staffing levels from a couple of years ago. The city saw cuts in its police department budget in recent years.
Ken Casaday, president of the Austin Police Association, told The Texan the budget cut decimated the department. “With the budget cut a lot of our proactive policing, the specialized units, have been sent back to do nothing but answer 911 calls,” he said.
Austin Police Department statistics show year-on-year rises in violent crimes including sexual assaults, aggravated assaults, and kidnapping. However, the overall number of offenses against the person fell compared to the previous year.
The Texan reported the state’s largest city, Houston, recorded the second largest violent crime increase – 23 percent followed by Fort Worth at 18 percent. Houston also faces a shortage of police officers.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported the city has been plagued by some high-profile shootings in recent months that sparked fear of rising violent crime.
For instance, eight people ended up wounded at a party in the Como neighborhood. A man was wounded in Sundance square as he and his girlfriend were randomly attacked.
The Telegram reported the city has not seen a surge in less serious violent crimes or property crimes.
Despite the spikes, violent crime remains at lower levels than in the 1980s and the 1990s. Fort Worth, for instance, has seen a 63 percent fall in the most serious crimes since 1995, the Telegram reported.
Violent crimes carry heavy sentences in Texas. If you or a family member have been charged with an offense of this nature, please call our experienced Texas criminal defense team at (214) 720-9552.