Austin homicide rate rises, but still below 2014

AUSTIN - Austin's violent crime rate is higher this year than in 2015, but police and safety experts say the general public is not at a greater threat.

The KVUE Defenders analyzed the homicide cases this year. Austin police has investigated or is investigating 23 homicides this year. This count does not include the UT homicide. Five cases still lack a motive. Those may point to danger, but it's not known at this time.

Austin police said of the 18 known cases:

  • Two cases were robberies gone bad – both of these involved gambling
  • One case was prostitution related
  • Five cases had drugs as a factor
  • Eight cases had alcohol as a factor

APD added there have been no homicides related to family violence as of Sept. 7.

  • In 12 cases, the suspects were known to or acquainted with the victims
  • In six cases, the suspects were unknown to the victims prior to the murder
    • Five of these cases were results of arguments
      • Alcohol was a factor in three cases (1 is a manslaughter)
      • Drugs were a factor in one case
    • One case was the result of a robbery of an illegal game room

“In order to get in front of the trends in violence, you need the analysts behind the scenes crunching the numbers, identifying trending or emerging threats or what's going to be the next problem on the horizon,” said Fred Burton, member of the Greater Austin Crime Commission and VP for Intelligence at Stratfor.

The Defenders compared Austin's numbers to other years. It's still lower than 2014 when 32 people were killed.

Austin also has fewer homicides in 2016 (as of Sept. 7) when compared to cities of similar size. Indianapolis has seen nearly 100 homicides in 2016. Jacksonville, Fla. has 79. Charlotte, N.C. has 39 reported homicides and San Jose, Calif. has 35.

(© 2016 KVUE)


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