Crime Down, Except for Murder

Austin homicides up; everything else down

Tracking the national average, violent crimes reported to Austin police in 2010 decreased by 6% from the previous year. It was the fourth year in a row that violent crime has decreased nationally. Property crimes in Austin – burglary, larceny, and auto theft – also decreased last year, by roughly 4.6%, outpacing the national decline of 2.7%. That said, Austin saw a big spike in murder in 2010 – from 22 in 2009 to 38 in 2010, a 72% increase.

Notably, while crime continues to decline across the country, the number of drug-related arrests continue to outpace all others; there were 1.6 million drug arrests in 2010 alone, amounting to one arrest every 19 seconds in the U.S., reports Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a group of police, judges, and other law enforcement officials who advocate for drug policy reform. Of those 1.6 million arrests, LEAP notes, nearly 82% were for mere possession; nearly 46% were for possession of marijuana. Yes, you read that right: three quarters of a million arrests for marijuana possession.

"Since the declaration of the 'war on drugs' 40 years ago, we've arrested tens of millions of people in an effort to reduce drug use. The fact that cops had to spend time arresting another 1.6 million of our fellow citizens last year shows that it simply hasn't worked," retired Baltimore drug cop Neill Franklin, who now heads LEAP, wrote on the group's website. "In the current economy we simply cannot afford to keep arresting three people every minute."

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More crime
Working 'The Corner'
Working 'The Corner'
Neighbors and officials plan one more effort to save the neighborhood around 12th and Chicon

Jordan Smith, July 13, 2012

Who Killed Father Ryan?
Who Killed Father Ryan?
A 1981 Odessa murder haunts crime researchers, the Catholic Church, and an ex-con determined to prove his innocence

Jordan Smith, June 17, 2005

More by Jordan Smith
'Chrome Underground' Goes Classic Car Hunting
'Chrome Underground' Goes Classic Car Hunting
Motoreum's Yusuf & Antonio talk about the biz and their reality TV debut

May 22, 2014

Eighth Inmate of the Year Set to Die
Eighth Inmate of the Year Set to Die
Eighth inmate of the year set to die

May 9, 2014

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

crime, cops, Austin Police Department, APD, marijuana, LEAP, Neill Franklin, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, drug war

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle