The overall crime rate in Travis County decreased by 6% from 2020 to 2021. Over the five years from 2017 through 2021, the overall crime rate in Travis County increased by 3%. The increase in the overall crime rate is attributable to an increase in the violent crime rate from 2019 to 2021.
These statistics include incidents of murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, theft and auto theft reported by 16 local law enforcement agencies to the Texas Department of Public Safety.
A FOCUS ON EQUITY
While local data is not available, the Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that Blacks are more likely than other racial or ethnic categories to be victims of violent crimes.
In terms of the 5-year trend from 2017 to 2021, most of the largest urban counties in Texas saw a decline in the overall crime rates per 100,000 people. Travis County was an exception, with a 2.6% increase in the overall crime rate. Although Bexar County generally has the highest overall crime rate, in 2021 Harris was the county with the highest overall crime rate among the six most populous Texas counties. El Paso County has the lowest crime rate among these counties.
In 2021, Travis County experienced a decline in the total number of property crimes reported. Over the past 5 years, auto thefts increased by 117%, burglaries increased by 4%, and larcenies/thefts decreased by 1%. In Travis County, there were 5,649 burglaries, 28,896 larcenies, and 5,236 auto thefts reported by 17 law enforcement agencies in 2021.
The chart at left shows the number of incidents reported for each type of violent crime for 2017 through 2021. Assaults account for the largest share of violent crime offenses reported and have been increasing since 2018. From 2020 to 2021, rapes increased by 21% and murders increased by 72%.
There were 4,111 assaults reported in Travis County in 2021, representing an increase of 9% over the previous year. The number of robberies decreased by 11% over the same time period, to 1,073 in 2021.
In 2021, Travis County experienced another decline in the property crime rate over the previous year. Property crime accounts for most reported crimes. In 2021, the property crime rate for Bexar County, home to San Antonio, increased above the property crime rate of Harris County, home to Houston.
El Paso County has consistently had the lowest property crime rate of the 6 most populous urban counties.
In 2021 the Travis County violent crime rate increased to 440 per 100,000 from rate of 420 per 100,000 in 2020. From 2012 to 2015, Travis County had the lowest violent crime rate per 100,000 residents among the six largest Texas urban counties. Click the graph to access this data.
Harris County, home to Houston, has consistently had the highest violent crime rate among these six urban counties.
Austin Justice Coalition is a grassroots organization addressing community needs, increasing political involvement, empowering communities, and criminal justice reform at the local level.
Grassroots Leadership works for a more just society where prison profiteering, mass incarceration, deportation & criminalization are things of the past.
Measure Austin is an organization whose mission is to use data and education to empower communities to eliminate social disparities.
Restore Rundberg is a neighborhood-led initiative that was originally launched with a $1 million Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative grant from the US Department of Justice. Even though the grant ended in 2016, neighbors continue to work with the Austin Police Department and other stakeholders to reduce crime and revitalize their neighborhood. A study released by the University of Texas RGK Center in December 2015 reported that the Rundberg area experienced declines in both violent crime (4.5%) and property crime (14%) when comparing data from April 2012—August 2013 to April 2014—August 2015.
The Austin Police Department has centralized its Burglary Unit to improve the number of cases solved and to successfully prosecute offenders who commit burglaries. The Travis County Sheriff’s Office has plans to also centralize its burglary investigations into a single unit.
Integral Care partners with law enforcement and other partners to provide several jail diversion programs and strategies. Crisis Intervention Teams are teams of Austin Police Department officers and Travis County Sheriff’s Deputies who have been specially trained to work with individuals experiencing mental illness. The Mobile Crisis Outreach Team (MCOT) helps to divert people experiencing a mental health crisis away from jail and toward a more appropriate setting.
Travis County offers a number of programs for people involved with the criminal justice system, that are aimed at helping them become successful after release and to reduce recidivism. Programs help ex-offenders find employment and address mental health and substance use issues. Travis County is also pursuing state funding to establish a Public Defenders Office to strengthen indigent defense. Austin is the largest U.S. city without such an office. The proposal would help to improve outcomes for people charged with crimes in Travis County who cannot afford an attorney.
Goodwill Central Texas was awarded a $4.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor in 2016 to improve employment and reduce recidivism among justice-involved young adults. The Goodwill LifeLaunch young adult reentry program will provide access to employment, training opportunities and support services for 575 young adults, between the ages of 18 to 24.