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Unread 05-01-2009, 11:21 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX
13,803 posts, read 16,936,963 times
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Default Crime in Austin

I have stated in other threads that Austin has a lower crime rate then other cities. I was surprised when I went to verify this by looking at the statistics here, United States cities by crime rate - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia , to find that is not completely true.

In cities over 250,000 population, of the 73 cities listed.

Austin is safer than most cities but has significantly more property crime. I wonder why that is?

Austin is a safer city then most, rating 58th highest in violent crime. Only 8* have lower incidents of violent crime than Austin's rate of 540/100,000 people. So 62* cities have higher rates of violent crime. Detroit is the highest at 2,289.

The opposite is true for property crimes.

Austin is has more property crime than most, rating 14th highest in property crime. 59 cities have lower rates than Austin's 6,341/100,000 people. St. Louis was highest with 9,736,

*statistics for a few cities are listed as NA so the numbers are off a little.

I wonder why the property crime rate is so high here? Looking just at Texas I see that San Antonio, Corpus Christi and Dallas are slightly higher then Austin, but Houston, Arlington, Ft. Worth, El Paso and Plano are all significantly lower.

Property crime consistes of Burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft. In these areas Austin rates as follows:

burglary 34th at 1,120
larceny-theft 6th at 4,808 <------- this appears to be the problem area.
motor vehicle theft 48th at 413

So it looks like Larceny-theft is the problem.

The highest zip code for theft is 78704 for the last year it breaks down like this.

1131 THEFT <--- mostly theft from businesses
6 THEFT BY CHECK
1 THEFT BY EMBEZZLEMENT
67 THEFT FROM AUTO
4 THEFT FROM BUILDING
15 THEFT FROM PERSON
20 THEFT OF AUTO PARTS
154 THEFT OF BICYCLE
14 THEFT OF LICENSE PLATE
6 THEFT OF METAL
71 THEFT OF SERVICE
8 THEFT OF VEHICLE/OTHER

Verify this data yourself here http://malford.ci.austin.tx.us/police/zipcode/zipcode/zip_2008.pdf (broken link) and here COA GIS Crime Viewer

Why is Austin's theft rate higher then most?

Last edited by CptnRn; 05-01-2009 at 11:55 AM..
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Unread 05-01-2009, 11:53 AM
 
Location: central Austin
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Well, i live in 04 and there is some problem with theft. BUT we are also very active in reporting theft.

The police encourage us to do so as a means of measuring the problem and so that more officers can be assigned to our area. We call everything in!! So folks around here will call and report the theft of flowerpots off the porch (oddly common a few years back, some suspect that the potted plants being sold on the side of the road largely come from TH porches!), sometimes new landscaping has been stolen out of the ground! A few weeks ago a few cars on my block were open (left unlocked) and scavenged through, only small things were taken (phone chargers, dead walki-talkies) clearly they were looking for ipods etc. the loose change was not taken. But every person filed a police report and forensics came out. So that would five thefts from an auto right there but no damage was done to any cars and most items that were taken were very low value.

Only 8 vehicles stolen?! I think that's great considering how many tourists and visitors we get with heavy amounts of street parking and very few garages compared to other areas of town. We also have a fairly high number of hotels etc that offer opportunities for that type of crime.

Bicycle theft is a problem and some thieves in this area also operate on bicycles, so they are valued for that reason (easy to stash, silent, quick to get-away).

I never had anything taken from my porch or car (about once a month the doors to my minivan get left wide open in the carport overnight, nothing has ever been disturbed).

78704 is a zip with a very wide range of incomes, and lots of young people, as a result stuff gets swiped AND reported (in other zips nearby I would guess that minor stuff is stolen but not reported), but I feel very safe here and I don't worry much about serious crime.
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Unread 05-01-2009, 12:16 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
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No telling, really, but how much is reported is always a factor. Also (and I have not looked at the link) it is possible that a large number of cities fall into a relatively similar range, so that the statistical difference may not be that large. If bike thefts dropped by 20, would the ranking move Austin way down? If there were one more murder, would Austin move up in the violent crime category? There really should be a range rather than explicit ranking, based on a larger statistical analysis.

Now, that is not to say that property crime is not high, but why that is the case, I have no idea. The bicylces might have to do with the larger than average number of cyclist and the lack of a large scale mass transit system (even to get to the bus, some people ride bikes).
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Unread 05-01-2009, 01:40 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
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Theft from vehicles apparently means the vehicle was unlocked, because there is a separate category , burglary which includes burglary from vehicles which is much higher. And this is true in all zip codes throughout the city.

I was wondering if the age of the population has something to do with it, it was my impression that overall the population of Austin is relatively young. This website Population | The Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce :: Austin, Texas (http://www.austin-chamber.org/DoBusiness/GreaterAustinProfile/population.html - broken link) indicates that is correct, but its not as extreme as I thought. It says
Quote:
Nearly half of the region's population, 45%, is in the peak working years between the ages of 18-44 (compared to 38% nationally). The median age of the Austin metro is four years younger than the national median (32.2 years vs. 36.7 years).
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Unread 05-01-2009, 01:58 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trainwreck20 View Post
No telling, really, but how much is reported is always a factor. Also (and I have not looked at the link) it is possible that a large number of cities fall into a relatively similar range, so that the statistical difference may not be that large. If bike thefts dropped by 20, would the ranking move Austin way down? If there were one more murder, would Austin move up in the violent crime category? There really should be a range rather than explicit ranking, based on a larger statistical analysis.

Now, that is not to say that property crime is not high, but why that is the case, I have no idea. The bicylces might have to do with the larger than average number of cyclist and the lack of a large scale mass transit system (even to get to the bus, some people ride bikes).
I was wondering if bicycle thefts were a factor, city wide they represent a significant number of thefts. No easy way to tell if its more then other areas.

In Larceny-Theft, Austin would have to drop from 4,808 to 4,607 to move down one place; each progressive step lower would require moving to the following rates 4,407, 4232, 4198, 4093. So the steps look pretty significant. The total average of the steps is 79 each (5839/73).
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Unread 05-01-2009, 01:59 PM
 
Location: Texas
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There is the one downfall about Wiki. It's not often extremely factual. For example, it says Austin had 4 murders in 2007. However, I know they had AT LEAST 29 in 2007 as of 12/24/07.

Makes you go hmmm.....

Police investigate Austin's 29th murder of 2007

I would seriously question the "facts" in that table.
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Unread 05-01-2009, 02:05 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by txgolfer130 View Post
There is the one downfall about Wiki. It's not often extremely factual. For example, it says Austin had 4 murders in 2007. However, I know they had AT LEAST 29 in 2007 as of 12/24/07.

Makes you go hmmm.....

Police investigate Austin's 29th murder of 2007

I would seriously question the "facts" in that table.
The wiki website is comparing cases per 100,000 population. So those numbers do not reflect the total number of incidents.

See the APD stats for the total number in each zip code and total citywide.

http://malford.ci.austin.tx.us/police/zipcode/zipcode/ZIP_2007.pdf (broken link)

Spot checking several of these the numbers in the wiki seem only slightly less then what APD was reporting. Emphasis, the APD numbers would put Austin even higher in the crime rankings.
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Unread 05-01-2009, 03:40 PM
 
Location: Central Texas
11,127 posts, read 10,363,230 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by txgolfer130 View Post
There is the one downfall about Wiki. It's not often extremely factual. For example, it says Austin had 4 murders in 2007. However, I know they had AT LEAST 29 in 2007 as of 12/24/07.

Makes you go hmmm.....

Police investigate Austin's 29th murder of 2007

I would seriously question the "facts" in that table.
Murder RATE is much more meaningful than raw numbers. And as pointed out above the wiki data is probably correct since it includes murder an non-negligent homicides per 100,000.
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Unread 05-21-2009, 04:49 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
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I thought it would be useful to add this bit from the thread Austin & its gang life... about the low gang activity in Austin to this thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CptnRn View Post
That's not bad when you consider that there were 33,666 thefts in Austin and only 115 were known to be committed by gang members.

Likewise;

1403 robberies total
34 robberies by gang members

1953 aggravated assaults total
43 aggravated assaults by gang members

APD crimes listed by zip code http://malford.ci.austin.tx.us/police/zipcode/zipcode/zip_2008.pdf (broken link)
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Unread 05-29-2009, 03:44 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
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I had a chance to talk to a police officer today at Supercuts and was able to ask him about crime in Austin.

He confirmed that Austin does have a very low violent crime rate and felt it was because APD puts a huge effort into solving violent crimes. He said in the last several years they have closed every murder investigation with and arrest and conviction.

He confirmed that Austin has an unusually high property crime rate, especially theft, he suggested that it was partially the demographics (relatively younger average age in the community) and that the low violent crime rate makes people feel safe. Since they feel safe, they are complacent about locking things up, leaving cars and houses unlocked and garage doors open, and leave valuables out in the open in their cars. He said theft is usually a crime of opportunity where a thief takes something just because it is easy to do.

He confirmed that the increased property crimes in 78749 were mostly related to the shopping center and health club parking lots along William Cannon and Loop 1 as well as some of the large apartment complexes.

He shared with me that one of the oldest health clubs on William Cannon had contacted them concerned about the number of thefts happening in their parking lot. APD suggested they should hire off duty police officers or security guards to walk around the parking lot occasionally as a deterrent. But the health club did not want to do that as it would be publicly admitting there was a problem, and that might scare of new customers.

He emphasized that the most important thing to do to deter crime was lock things up and don't leave valuables in your car and especially out in the open where they are visible in your car.
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