As Austin homicides spike, citywide property, personal crimes on decline

Austin

Austin Police Chief Joseph Chacon noted decreases in Austin’s non-violent crimes and spikes in homicides and aggravated assaults, in trend with national crime patterns. (Screenshot courtesy: Austin Public Safety Commission)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — At a public safety commission meeting Monday, newly sworn-in Austin Police Chief Joseph Chacon noted a “troubling” increase in the city’s homicide levels. At the same time, data presented to the commission noted decreases in citywide crimes against persons and property in 2021, in line with national levels.

Citywide crimes against individuals are down by 5% in the year to date, and 6% from last fall. Similarly, crimes against properties have declined by 9% in 2021, and 17% from this time last year.

The main culprits that are seeing spikes are levels of homicides and aggravated assaults. Those match national trends reported by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in September, with aggravated assaults, homicides and manslaughter all on the rise as burglaries, larceny-thefts and the estimated number of rapes declined nationally.

“Our violent crime units continue to work collaboratively to continue to effect our violent crime,” he said.

While Chacon didn’t report on any specific trends or patterns related to Austin’s uptick in homicides, he did note an increase in gun violence and gun-related crimes. He said more more weapon law violations are being committed this year, which likely have impacted Austin’s overall violent crime occurrences.

On the number of crime clearances, defined as the number of charges being laid or lifted, Chacon said the vast majority have been cleared via arrest. Between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30, he said 3,924 crimes against persons have been cleared via arrests, compared to an overall 3,959 cleared in some form.

Similarly, with citywide clearances for property-related crimes, 2,278 incidents were cleared via arrests compared to 2,314 clearances overall.

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