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Austin surpasses a 60-year high with 60th homicide of 2021

Austin saw its 60th homicide of 2021 on Sunday, a 60-year high for the growing city.

After two back-to-back homicides early Sunday morning, Austin reached a 60-year high of 60 homicides this year.


The number is the highest the Austin Police Department has recorded in its 60 years of record-keeping and surpasses the murders in 2020 by 25%, when the city saw 48 slayings.

The numbers came quick early Sunday morning, when police officers responded to a call at the El Nocturno Night Club on 7601 N. Lamar Blvd after reports of gunfire. A man was found with several gunshot wounds at the scene and was later pronounced dead.

Less than 10 minutes later, officers responded to a reported stabbing downtown. When they arrived at the scene, they found an injured man who later died. No more information has come from either report.

According to the Austin-American Statesman's Tony Plohetski, the homicide rate when using 2020 census data is 6.2 per 100,000 residents, up from a previous high of around 5.0 in 2020.

Austin Interim Police Chief Joseph Chacon said the city's "boomtown" growth is now being met with "boomtown" problems.

"This is about us truly becoming a big city," Chacon said. "We are starting to experience big city problems. Having said that, I still think that among the big cities, that we remain one of the safest in the country."

Rising crime in Austin has been part of contentious political debates, including a controversial proposition from Save Austin Now to increase police staffing and statements from Gov. Greg Abbott.

Some politicians have pointed to Austin's police budget cuts following the George Floyd and Michael Ramos protests in the summer of 2020 as the culprit for the city's rise in crime. Lt. Governor Dan Patrick said the city is "now one of the most dangerous cities in America and definitely in Texas."

But some, like Chacon, say this is more indicative of a nationwide uptick in violent crime in recent years. According to the most recent FBI crime data, Austins violent crime rate sat at 400 incidents per 100,000 residents, or 28th out of the nation's 30 largest cities, in 2019. The city's murder rate for 2019 sat at 3.2 murders per 100,000 residents in 2019, putting Austin in the middle at 15th among Texas' 25 largest cities.

Still, Chacon worries that murders will only rise as the year's final four months come to a close, and the department responded in May by introducing a Violence Intervention Program aimed at preventing gun violence.

"As we go through criminal justice reform, we cannot forget why we have a police department, which is to keep the public safe," Chacon said. "So, we are looking at public safety through that lens, as well."

Popular

Tito's releases (not so?) ugly sweater line for the holidays, profits to charity

Tito's Handmade Vodka

Show your love for Tito's and for the community this year with a wide selection of not that ugly, uglyish, ugly, uglier, and ugliest holiday sweaters.

There's lots choose from, and plenty of accessories like scarves and socks, plus gear for your dog, too.

All of the items can be purchased online or at the Love, Tito’s Retail Store in Austin, TX. 100% of all net proceeds from online or in-store purchases go to one of the nonprofits we’ve teamed up with.

Click here to see the entire collection in the Tito's store.

Mac and Cheese Fest and Free Art Exhibit
Waterloo Greenway, Good Vibrations Installation


🗓 All weekend

🎨 Creek Show Art Exhibit

Check out this highly anticipated art exhibition with illuminated art along Waller Creek. Tickets are free and the event includes food vendors, dazzling lights, live music, and hands-on activities

All weekend 6 p.m - 10 p.m | 📍Waterloo Park

✨ Mozart's Light Show

This iconic holiday tradition lights up for the first time this holiday season starting this weekend! Reserve your spot for an enchanting light and sound performance, delicious hot cocoa, sweet treats, and some overall fun with your friends or family. The show runs till January 6th.

6 p.m and 9 p.m | 📍Mozart's Coffee Roasters - 3825 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, TX 78703

🗓 Saturday

🥊 Kickboxing in the Park

This fitness event is free and open to the public. Get your morning started right with a "Fitness in the park" class for kickboxing! The class will be led by certified instructors and is a great way to get a cardio workout in while also honing your self-defense skills.

10 a.m - 11 a.m | 📍 Metz Park

🛍 The Front Market

Support local LBGTQ+ and female artists at this outdoor market with over 150 vendors. Get your holiday shopping out of the way at this event, with vendors for food trucks, handmade goods, raffles, hands on workshops and activities, and more.

11 a.m - 5 p.m | 📍Ani's Day and Night - 7107 E Riverside Drive, Austin, TX 78741

🗓 Sunday

🧀 Mac and Cheese Fest

Did someone say cheese?! If you're like me and always willing to get your hands on a bowl of mac and cheese, then this event is for you. Check out the Mac and Cheese festival happening this weekend to decide which vendor has. the best mac and cheese for yourself, and enjoy the bar with creative cocktails while you're at it. Tickets start at $45.

11 a.m - 3 p.m | 📍Lantana Place - 7415 Southwest Parkway