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Crime

vision
status = better

We are safe, just, & engaged.

We are free from abuse, neglect, crime,
violence, and injustice.

Crime occurs at a rate of 3,988 offenses per 100,000 people in Travis County

Indicator: Overall crime rate in Travis County

Goal: To reduce the overall crime rate

Target: 1% annual decline in the overall crime rate

Key Trends Travis County’s overall crime rate dropped by 10% from 2013 to 2014, far exceeding the community goal of a 1% annual reduction in crime. In 2014 Travis County had the lowest violent crime rate of the six largest Texas urban counties, and the overall crime rate continued its year-over-year decline. One notable exception was an increase in rape offenses, due to a redefinition of the offense of rape by the FBI. With the new definition, Travis County saw a 154 percent increase in the number of rape offenses reported per 100,000 residents compared to 2013.

what the data tell us

Travis County’s crime rate dropped by 10% from 2013 to 2014, exceeding the community target of a 1% annual decline in the overall crime rate. With this substantial decline, Travis County’s crime rate of 3,988 indexed offenses per 100,000 residents dropped below the average crime rate for the six major urban counties in the state (4,127 offenses per 100,000 residents).

Definition: The crime count of reported criminal offenses (including murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, and auto theft) divided by population to produce a rate per 100,000 persons in the population.

Data Source: Texas Department of Public Safety and the Federal Bureau of Investigation

Data Considerations: Some crime incidences are not reported to authorities and are not reflected in the data. The Texas Urban Counties rate is the overall crime rate for the six major urban counties in the state: Bexar, Dallas, El Paso, Harris, Tarrant, and Travis.

the story behind the indicator

In recent years, Travis County has experienced a decline in the number of indexed crimes reported, consistently meeting CAN’s community target of a 1% annual decline in the overall crime rate. In 2014, the crime rate declined to 3,988 offenses per 100,000 people. This represents a total of 48,082 offenses reported to police in 2014. By far, the majority of these offenses are property crimes, which include burglaries, larcenies, and auto thefts. Travis County experienced 3,631 property crimes per 100,000 people compared to only 357 violent crimes per 100,000 people.

Travis County’s overall crime rate was slightly lower than the pooled rate for the six major Texas urban counties (Bexar, Dallas, El Paso, Harris, Tarrant, and Travis), which was 4,127 offenses per 100,000 people in 2014. In 2014 Travis County also experienced the lowest violent crime rate among the six urban counties, and its property crime rate was only surpassed by Bexar and Harris Counties. The 2014 Rape Addendum had a significant impact on the violent crime rate in Travis County , more than doubling the number of rape offenses reported from 2013 to 2014.

Significance of Indicator: : The National Institute of Health reports that there are four types of costs incurred as a result of crime: 1) victim costs: direct economic losses suffered by crime victims, 2) criminal justice system costs, 3) crime career costs: opportunity costs associated with the criminal’s choice to engage in illegal rather than legal and productive activities, and 4) intangible costs: indirect losses suffered by crime victims, including pain and suffering, decreased quality of life, and psychological distress.

a closer look

Click on one of the titles below for more information.

» violent and property Crime rates, Travis County

Violent and Property Crime Rates, Travis County

There are far more property crimes reported in Travis County each year than violent crimes. As a result, the property crime rate is much higher than the violent crime rate. However, property crime rates have declined steadily since 2007.In 2014, the property crime rate was 3,631 offenses per 100,000 people. By contrast, the violent crime rate was 357 offenses per 100,000 people.

Definition: The count of reported violent crime incidents (including murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault) and property crime incidents (including burglary, larceny, and auto theft) divided by population to produce a rate per 100,000 persons in the population.

Data Source: Texas Department of Public Safety

Data Considerations: Some crime incidences are not reported to authorities and are not reflected in the data.

Property Crime Rate, Travis county

The property crime rate has declined steadily since 2007 in Travis County. From a high of 5,446 property crimes per 100,000 residents in 2007 (representing 51,638 reported property crimes across Travis County jurisdictions), the rate has declined to 3,631 property crimes per 100,000 people (representing 43,773 property crimes countywide).

Definition: The count of reported property crime incidents (including burglary, larceny, and auto theft) divided by population to produce a rate per 100,000 persons in the population.

Data Source:
Texas Department of Public Safety

Data Considerations: Some crime incidences are not reported to authorities and are not reflected in the data.

Property Crime Offenses as a Percent of Total Property Crime, Travis county, 2014

Theft accounts for the largest share of indexed property crime offenses reported in Travis County, a breakdown that is true for the state as a whole, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. In 2014, there were 6,972 burglaries, 34,267 thefts, and 2,534 auto thefts reported to Travis County law enforcement agencies. Local leaders have particularly highlighted burglary as an issue in Travis County. In 2011, the Austin Police Department created a Burglary Unit to address this issue.

Definition: The count of reported property crime incidents (including burglary, left, and motor vehicle theft) divided by the total number of violent crime offenses reported.

Data Source:
Texas Department of Public Safety

Data Considerations: Some crime incidences are not reported to authorities and are not reflected in the data.

Violent Crime Rate, Travis county

Travis County’s violent crime rate is the lowest of the six major Texas Urban counties. However, from 2013 to 2014 the violent crime rate increased by 10% from 325 violent crimes per 100,000 residents (representing 3,760 offenses) to 448 violent crimes per 100,000 residents (representing 4,309 offenses). This large increase in violent crime could be attributed to the FBI’s redefinition of rape with the 2014 Rape Addendum. The FBI removed the term “forcible” from the offense title resulting in an increase in the number of rape offenses per 100,000 people in both the State of Texas and four of the six major Texas urban counties. Travis County saw the largest increase in rape offenses with 680 rape offenses per 100,000 people, compared to 257 the year before.

Definition: The count of reported violent crime incidents (including murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault) divided by population to produce a rate per 100,000 persons in the population.

Data Source:
Texas Department of Public Safety

Data Considerations: Some crime incidences are not reported to authorities and are not reflected in the data.

Violent Crime Rate Breakdown

Aggravated assault accounts for the largest share of indexed violent crime offenses reported in Travis County, a breakdown that is true for the state as a whole, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. From 2013 to 2014, the number of murders reported to Travis County law enforcement agencies decreased from 36 to 34, while the number of reported rapes (257 to 680), robberies (821 to 947) and aggravated assaults (2,646 to 2,648) increased.

Definition: The count of reported violent crime incidents (including murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault) divided by the total number of violent crime offenses reported

Data Source:
Texas Department of Public Safety

Data Considerations: Some crime incidences are not reported to authorities and are not reflected in the data.

» Comparing Crime in Urban Texas Counties

Overall Crime Rate, Texas Urban Counties

Of the urban counties in Texas, Travis County has a crime rate that is exceeded only by Bexar and Harris Counties. El Paso County has a significantly lower crime rate than the six other Texas urban counties.

Definition: The count of reported violent crime incidents (including murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault) and property crime incidents (including burglary, larceny, and auto theft) divided by population to produce a rate per 100,000 persons in the population.

Data Source:
Texas Department of Public Safety

Data Considerations: In 2011, Harris County Sheriff’s Office only reported six months of crime data to the Texas Department of Public Safety. As a result, there is a dip in the trend line for Harris County on this graph that cannot be attributed to an actual drop in the overall crime rate.

Violent Crime Rate, Texas urban counties

In 2014 Travis County had the lowest violent crime rate of all Texas urban counties for the first time since 2008 with 357 offenses per 100,000 residents. During the same year, 725 violent crimes per 100,000 residents were committed in Harris County. From 2013 to 2014 the violent crime rate increased significantly in Travis, El Paso, Harris and Dallas counties, possibly due to the FBI’s 2014 Rape Addendum, which redefined the definition of rape.

Definition: The count of reported violent crime incidents (including murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault) divided by population to produce a rate per 100,000 persons in the population.

Data Source: Texas Department of Public Safety

Data Considerations: Some crime incidences are not reported to authorities and are not reflected in the data.

2014 FBIRape Addendum

For 2014, the offense of rape was redefined by the FBI in the Uniform Crime Reporting program to remove the term “forcible” from the offense title. This redefinition caused an increase in the number of rape offenses reported in 2014, compared to 2013. Statistics reported in this crime category include assaults to commit rape. The number of rapes committed in Texas in 2014 was 11,466. This represented an increase of 54 percent in the number of rape offenses from 2013. Of the six largest Texas urban counties, Travis County saw the greatest increase in reported rape offenses (154%), followed by El Paso (65%), Bexar (56%) and Tarrant (46%) Counties. Travis County also had the second largest rate of rape offenses at 56.4 per 100,000 people, exceeded only by Bexar County with a rate of 65.2.

The new definition:

“Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”

graph of Violent Crime Rates for Texas Urban Counties

Definition: The count of reported rape offenses (including assaults to commit rape) divided by population to produce a rate per 100,000 persons in the population.

Data Source: Texas Department of Public Safety

Data Considerations: Some crime incidences are not reported to authorities and are not reflected in the data.

Property Crime Rate, Texas urban counties

Property crime drives overall crime rates in Texas’ urban counties. Of the urban counties shown here, Bexar County (San Antonio), with 4,770 property crimes per 100,000 residents, and Harris County, with 3,825 property crimes per 100,000 residents, had higher rates of property crime than Travis County (3631 property crimes per 100,000 residents) in 2014. El Paso County had a notably low property crime rate in 2014, with 2,029 property crimes per 100,000 residents reported.

Definition: The count of reported property crime incidents (including burglary, larceny, and auto theft) divided by population to produce a rate per 100,000 persons in the population.

Data Source: Texas Department of Public Safety

Data Considerations: Some crime incidences are not reported to authorities and are not reflected in the data.

some local efforts to improve this indicator

Collaborative Initiatives

  • In 2012, the Austin Police Department was awarded a $1 million Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative grant from the U.S. Department of Justice in order to implement the Restore Rundberg initiative. The project works to bring together a diverse array of community stakeholders, including community members and institutional partners, to deter crime by addressing three areas most likely to impact crime: physical disorder, social-economic status and resources, and the ‘collective efficacy’ among neighbors. In December 2015, Dr. David W. Springer, University of Texas' RGK Center Director and Professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs and School of Social Work, reported that the Rundberg area experienced declines in both violent crime (4.5%) and property crime (14%) when comparing data from April 2012 through August 2013 to April 2014 through August 2015. In 2015, the initiative was recognized as Best Neighborhood Revival by the Austin Chronicle and received the Spirit of Collaboration CAN Butler Award.
     
  • In 2011, the Austin Police Department launched a specialized Burglary Unit to address crimes against property. The unit became fully operational in 2012 and has worked to increase department clearance rates for local property crimes. In 2015, APD began to work with the Travis County District Attorney’s office to coordinate arrest and prosecution of burglaries to better target the most serious offenders.
     
  • Austin and Travis County leaders are working together to create a local sobriety center to address public intoxication by providing a place for publicly intoxicated individuals to detoxify from alcohol with options for treatment and referral, as well as intervention by law enforcement or emergency medical personnel. In 2015, both the Austin City Council and the Travis County Commissioners Court agreed to begin the negotiation of an interlocal agreement to establish directives and funding. A working group of Austin City Council Members and Travis County Commissioners have provided location and operations recommendations to be considered as the project moves forward.
     
  • Local coalitions and collaborations, such as the Austin/Travis Family Violence Task Force, the Austin/Travis County Reentry Roundtable, the Central Texas Afterschool Network, and the Out-of-School-Time System Planning Group, help to monitor and create programs and practices that impact crime. Special problem-solving courts/dockets have also been created locally to impact issues like substance abuse, mental health, domestic violence, and repeat offenders. A few examples include the Adult Drug Diversion Court, Travis County Family Drug Treatment Court, Neighborhood Conference Committee,Downtown Community Court, Project Engage, and the Mental Health Public Defender’s office.
     
  • Travis County offers a number of programs for people involved with the criminal justice system, including programs to facilitate successful reentry from incarceration. Commitment to Change is a substance abuse treatment program that offers individual and group counseling as well as ongoing support services after individuals are released. Inside Out Travis County is a therapeutic re-entry program that offers individual and group counseling to people who are incarcerated on topics including life skills, chemical dependency and relapse prevention, family and friend relationships and reunification, and mental health diagnoses and treatment. Travis County also offers workforce development services.
     
  • Through the Justice Reinvestment Initiative pilot program, Travis County provides permanent supportive housing, case management, and support services to twenty-two frequent users of the County Jail. In 2015 Travis County, in partnership with the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition and the City of Austin, was awarded a feasibility grant from the Corporation for Supportive Housing to test the feasibility of a Pay for Success contract to fund permeant supportive housing in Austin/Travis County for the 200 highest cost users of the criminal justice and healthcare systems.
     
  • Austin Travis County Integral Care’s Mobile Crisis Outreach Team works with specially trained local law enforcement officers to diffuse mental health crises and to ensure the most appropriate response when interventions are necessary.
     
  • The Hate Crimes Task Force, convened by the Anti-Defamation League in collaboration with the Austin City Council and the Travis County Community Justice Council, brings together a wide range of community leaders to develop and implement a multi-pronged approach to addressing hate and discrimination.
     

Plans, Data, and Reports

  • The Capitol Area Council of Governments developed a Regional Strategic Criminal Justice Plan for the ten Central Texas Counties located in the CAPCOG service region. Through regional stakeholder meetings, CAPCOG identified priority needs in five areas: 1) criminal justice system improvements, 2) juvenile justice system improvements, 3) school-based system improvements, 4) direct victim services, and 5) mental health/substance treatment. Priority areas for attention included re-entry services; language access services; technological improvements; programs for victimized youth; services for children and other families members of incarcerated individuals; increase funding for specialty courts; juvenile delinquency prevention and mental health services; internet safety education; expand basic victims services; promote comprehensive service locations for victim’s services; increased numbers of sexual assault examiners; training to increase the number of mental health officers, including rural crisis intervention teams; crisis respite centers; increased resources for supportive recovery services, including transitional and permanent supportive housing options; mental health promotion and increased mental health services, including peer support services.
     
  • The FY2014-2015 Community Justice Plan for Travis County Adult Probation outlines funding needs for community supervision, including a centralized assessment unit, cognitive intervention for substance abuse treatment program, co-occurring reentry services, a counseling center, and mental health initiatives, among other priorities.
     

vulnerable populations