City of Austin Performance Report 2014-15
Violent Crime Rate Per 1,000 Population
The FBI identifies seven “Part I Index Crimes” based on their seriousness and frequency of occurrence. Four of these are considered violent crimes: murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. The Austin Police Department (APD) reports crime counts to the FBI, whose UCR (Uniform Crime Reporting) program provides for consistent crime reporting across the country.
Violent crimes are counted by either number of victims (murder, rape, aggravated assault) or number of offenses (robbery). In FY 2013-14, the FBI modified its definition of rape. Sexual assaults that previously did not meet the criteria of rape are now included in rape counts, which has resulted in higher rape – and violent crime – counts since this change. The violent crime rate is calculated by dividing the violent crime count by a population factor (Austin population divided by 1,000). For prior years (FY 2013-14 and earlier), APD reports the FBI’s UCR violent crime rate. This rate is considered official, and it is calculated using the calendar year and Austin’s US census population. For FY 2014-15, the violent crime rate is based on a fiscal year and the full-purpose population. The FBI will release its official, final results in 2016.
FY 2014-15 Results
The FY 2014-15 goal for this measure was established at 5.01 crimes per 1,000 residents. The result was 4.05 crimes per 1,000 residents, which was 19% below the goal.
Assessment of Results
The FY 2014-15 result was 2% higher than the FY 2013-14 result and 1% higher than the average of the last four years. Austin’s violent crime rate in calendar 2014 was 3.96, which was 59% below the rate of 9.69 for large US cities. Austin ranked 2nd safest city of large US cities in violent crime.
The increase in the violent crime rate can be mostly attributed to a 13% increase in Austin’s rate of robberies (1.1 per 1,000 residents). While robberies are up citywide, downtown experienced the highest increase, driven by robberies of intoxicated individuals leaving Sixth Street. Austin's rate of robberies was 68% lower than large US cities for the most recent year of comparison data.
To compare other violent crime components during FY 2014-15, Austin’s homicide rate of 0.04 per 1,000 residents (31 murders) was 1% lower compared to the previous year (32 murders), and it was 70% lower than large US cities. Austin's rate of 0.5 rapes was 22% lower than the previous year, and it was 3% higher than large US cities. Austin’s rate of 2.4 aggravated assaults was 5% higher compared to the previous year and was 57% lower than large US cities.
In FY 2014-15, APD's Firearms Unit created a Firearms Hotline, and it will continue in FY 2015-16. This hotline allows the public to provide information regarding illegal firearms and individuals prohibited from possessing firearms. The goal is to prevent violent crime by interdicting illegal access to firearms.
The Downtown Area Command has and will continue to commit resources to curb the downtown robbery issue, such as boosting patrol staffing at bar close.
Comparison crime for large US cities (populations between 500,000 - 999,999) is based on the most recent FBI data for 2014. (Austin’s population was 888,204 in 2015).
For more information contact Art Acevedo, Chief of Police at (512) 974-5030.