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."

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

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