Recent string of random attacks doesn't mean Austin's becoming more dangerous, police say

Three random attacks in recent days are putting a new focus tonight on violent crime in Austin.

AUSTIN - Three random attacks in recent days are putting a new focus on violent crime in Austin.

First, a road-rage shooting in Northeast Austin resulted in the death of Alfred Lockett. His alleged killer is still on the loose.

Second, a sexual assault along the Hike and Bike Trail. The alleged suspect, a homeless man, was arrested Tuesday night.

The third incident happened on Sixth Street Sunday. A San Antonio veteran was killed after a fight.

The recent string of incidents is causing some people to ask if the capital city is becoming more dangerous.

The Austin Police Department's answer: no.

Police said the three big incidents do not signal a new trend and are part of the usual fluctuations in crime.

In 2016, police said they were alarmed by a more than 10 percent increase in violent crime, meaning murders, rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults.

But so far this year – the most serious violent crime is only up by three percent – which officials attribute to efforts they have taken to combat that trend.

APD does not generally track how many of these crimes are stranger-on-stranger attacks like the ones seen in the past two weeks.

Assistant Police Chief Joe Chacon said although people are appropriately concerned about these recent incidents, police do not think it is the beginning of a major violent crime wave.

"If we were going to talk about a wave I think you would see the same kind of individuals or maybe some kind of criminal operation that was occurring," Chacon said. "These are really pretty random acts of violence that obviously we are going to try to get people in custody as quickly as possible get those folks off the street so they don't do it any longer and keep people safe."

Each month, police analyze where crime is happening and send officers to help combat those crimes.

Police say that is one of their main approaches -- being proactive to stop crime from happening in the first place and being reactive when it does to catch the perpetrator.

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