As the murder rate in Austin hits a 10-year high and social turmoil is bubbling, it is reasonable to wonder how dangerous the city really is. According to a report from the FBI, Austin could be more dangerous, but that doesn't mean it's the safest.
According to the FBI's 2019 National Incident-Based Reporting System, Austin consistently falls around the middle of the deck among 21 similarly-sized cities with populations over 400,000. The report presents data about victims, known offenders, relationships for offenses and arrest data reported in 23 categories with 52 offenses, as well as 10 additional categories for which only arrest data is collected.
The data shows that Austin ranked 12th in crimes against society, 11th in crimes against persons and safest for crimes against property. Four other Texas cities were included in the list—Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and Arlington—and frequently ranked safer the capital city.
Of the 79,931 crimes committed within Austin city limits, 20,135 were crimes against persons, 7,294 were crimes against society and 52,502 were crimes against property in 2019, the report for this year.
In crimes against persons, Austin ranked at 11, below Fort Worth and Dallas, in fifth and 10th place, respectively. Houston and Arlington ranked 13th and 18th in the same category.
According to the FBI, 50.4% of victims involved in the crime against them knew their perpetrator, 24.4% were related to the offender and 25.1% were classified as strangers across the U.S.
Austin ranked below Dallas, Houston and Fort Worth, in sixth, eighth and 11th place, in crimes against society, while Arlington ranked 20th.
The report also showed women are slightly higher targets for a crime against society, a business or an institution at 51%, compared to men targeted at 48.2% of the time.
Crimes against property make up 59.6% of crimes across the national board, also Austin's highest offense. Fort Worth, Arlington and Dallas ranked above Austin in third, sixth and seventh places, whereas Houston came in 14th.
Offenders of crimes against property tend to be white (51.9%), male (61.7%) and between 16-30 years old (38%), across U.S. data.
Though this year's report only showed the data for 22 cities, APD said as other cities transition from using Uniform Crime Reporting data to NIBRS data before January 2021, more cities will be added and will reflectmore accurate data.
Crime in 2020 has fluctuated, seeing small decreases in crimes like gambling, pocket-picking and commercial sex acts. Some outlets have pointed to such small drops, citing Austin crime is improving year-over-year, or that the crime cost per capita, $1,052, is lower than that of other cities.
In another study done by MoneyGeek, Austin ranked as the 9th safest "large" city based on its low cost of crime per capita.
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