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Despite high murder count, Austin murder rate consistent with other big cities, study says

Austin was in the lower half of cities in terms of murder rate. (Pexels)

Austin's murder count may be the highest it has been since 1984 but that's not unique to our city. Since the third quarter of 2019, homicide rates nationwide have risen by an average of 34%.

The capital city is growing like a weed—it's the fastest-growing large metropolitan area in the U.S.—but the growth in murder cases is happening in all 50 states, according to Police Chief Joseph Chacon. A new study by WalletHub finds that despite Austin's population jump, the homicide rate is not an outlier compared with the other 49 biggest cities in America.

Source: WalletHub

On the 100-point scale, a zero indicates the lowest homicides and 100 indicates the highest homicides. The scores are calculated out of 50 points for homicides per capita from Q3 in 2021, 25 points for changes in homicides from Q3 in 2021 vs. Q3 in 2020, and 25 points for changes in homicides from Q3 in 2021 vs. Q3 in 2019.

In fact, Texas fared pretty well on the list overall. Austin fell in the bottom half of the list in 32nd place with a score of 37.67. Both Dallas and Arlington came in with higher homicide cases per capita than Austin, in 24th and 30th places, respectively. Two Texas cities came in lower: Fort Worth in 43rd and El Paso in 46th place.

Sandwiched between Tusla, OK, and Madison, WI, Austin scored 1.79 points for homicides per capita in Q3 of 2021—the 10th lowest across the entire list. Baltimore, Maryland, topped this category with a score of 13.79, while Lincoln, Nebraska, came in lowest with a score of zero.

In terms of changes between Q3 in 2021 and 2020, Austin came in 16th highest with a score of 0.63, though it was higher than any other Texas city on the list for this category. Highest on the list overall, Atlanta, Georgia was No. 1 for this category with 2.86 points and Cincinnati, Ohio was last, with a score of -4.89.

Finally, between changes in Q3 for 2021 and 2019, Austin hovered right around the middle of the list in 27th place with a score of 0.74 below Arlington and Fort Worth. Louisville, Kentucky, has seen the highest increase, with a score of 5.18, whereas Kansas City, Missouri, saw the biggest decrease with a score of -4.32.

Austin's murder count has been a topic of conversation as the city simultaneously faces a shortage of police officers for months. Austin voters will vote on a proposition in the upcoming November election that would add more police officers to the department, which proponents say will make the city safer but opponents say will hurt funding for other departments in the city.


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