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20 December 2010

Crime declines continued unabated in first half of 2010

via Grits for Breakfast by Gritsforbreakfast on 12/20/10

Via Sentencing Law & Policy, here's a notable and welcome development regarding crime rates for the first half of 2010 compared to the same period in 2009: The FBI says they're going down significantly nationwide, as evidenced by this graphic:

Doug Berman's takeaway from this news hit most of the high points:
This continuation of the great crime decline is notable and exciting for lots of reasons. First, crime rates in 2009 were already relatively low (especially compared to crime rates in the 1980s and 1990s), and yet further reductions were achieved in 2010.  Second, given that the economy has not been great and that many states have been taking steps to reduce their incarceration rates, there were crime rate reductions in 2010 despite the presence of legal and social factors that many folks believe contribute to crime increases.  Third, low crime rates should help skittish politicians feel more comfortable backing "smart on crime" policy initiatives over the "tough on crime" political rhetoric.
As is my wont, I went to look at state and city level data for Texas and while I discovered some interesting tidbits, I also found the cities of of Austin and San Antonio missing from their data table for cities with more than 100,000 population. I don't know why that is and an email to the feds and a phone call to Austin PD's public information office didn't get any immediate answers. (UPDATE: Austin PD called back to say the mid-year submission is not mandatory but all their data will be in the year-end UCR report.) Overall, data for Texas cities tended to jibe with national declines, though some smaller jurisdictions saw increases, bucking national trends. Brownsville saw violent crime increase by a whopping 50%, though some of that is because their violent crime numbers were so small in the first place - e.g., murders there increased 200%, from one in the first half of 2009 to three in the first six months of 2010. Laredo and McAllen, by contrast, saw violent crime decrease by 15.4% and 18% respectively, and El Paso saw impressive reductions in violent and property crimes, belying any trend toward "spillover" crime from drug cartels across the river. For some reason, Killeen saw the second highest increase in violent crime and also led the state in the percentage increase in property crime from 2009.

Violent crime in Houston is down 8%; in Dallas it's down 4.7%, while there was a 3.8% increase in violent crime overall in Fort worth. See additional state and city level data here.

Posted via email from the Un-Official Southwestern PA Re-Entry Coalition Blog

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