D.A. Candidates Focus on Safety, Data Shows Austin Crime Rates Decreasing

Austin was the safest big city in Texas in 2022

Photo by Getty Images

Today’s race between José Garza and Jeremy Sylestine in the Democratic primary for Travis County district attorney centers around one salient issue – is Austin a safe city?

Data via Austin Police Department

If the metric for judging safety in cities is the annual crime rate, then the answer to that question is unequivocal: Yes, Austin is a safe city.

Voters preparing to cast an election day ballot may have heard otherwise, but the data speaks for itself.

Even in 2020, when crime was spiking, Austin ranked 27th out of America’s thirty largest cities for number of violent crimes per 100,000 residents, making it one of the safest big cities in the nation. Since 2020, the rate of violent and property crime in Austin has steadily decreased, according to Austin Police Department data. The trend could continue in 2024, too. Only data for January of this year is available, but it shows that only 5,320 crimes were committed, compared to more than 6,000 in each January for the years 2020-2023.

Data via FBI Crime Date Explorer

Austin was also safer than Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas in 2022. Austin had lower levels of property and violent crime than any of the three biggest cities in Texas, according to 2022 FBI data, which is the most recent year available.

The decreasing crime rates coincide with the election of incumbent D.A., José Garza – he was elected in November 2020 and sworn in January 2021. Crime trends are too nuanced and influenced by too many factors to attribute increases or decreases to any one elected official or policy program.

But the data is also clear that, under Garza, crime rates in Austin have steadily dropped – and may continue to do so in the current year.

Election Day is today, March 5. Polls close at 7pm.

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