Overall Major Crime Rate Drops
The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) announced recently that the overall major crime rate in Texas has dropped, while at the same time the actual number of violent crimes committed in Texas increased. According to data compiled by the DPS Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program that was released in the Annual Report of 2012 UCR Data Collection, the overall crime rate - the number of crimes per 100,000 people in Texas - decreased by 3 percent in 2012 compared to 2011. However, the crime by volume (the actual number of crimes compared from one year to the next) reflects a 1.2 percent increase in violent crimes from 2011 to 2012.
“While we are pleased that the overall index crime rate has decreased somewhat over the last year, it is concerning that at the same time Texas experienced an increase in the actual number of violent crimes,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “Moreover, we are still relying on a crime index reporting program from the 1930s that does not reflect an accurate picture of the threats posed by criminal enterprise organizations currently operating in our state. Drug smuggling, human trafficking, extortion, corruption, bribery, money laundering and kidnapping are just a few of the crimes committed by these ruthless organizations that are not reflected in current UCR data. The adoption of the National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS) would address these and other categories relevant to accurately assessing the impact of all crime occurring in our communities.”
According to the 2012 UCR data, the violent crime rate was down 0.2 percent compared to 2011, and the property crime rate decreased by 3.4 percent. Although the overall crime rate dropped 3 percent, the crime by volume reflects a 1.2 percent increase in violent crimes from 2011 to 2012, and a decrease of 1.9 percent in property crimes during that same period.
The UCR program collects reported crimes in eight categories (index crimes) from Texas law enforcement agencies. The eight categories are: murder; rape; robbery; aggravated assault; burglary; larceny/theft; motor vehicle theft; and arson.
NIBRS collects all of the data for the index crimes, plus data in 38 additional offense categories, which can be found at: http:// www2.fbi.gov/ucr/faqs.htm.
“If more Texas law enforcement agencies adopted NIBRS, Texas would have more accurate and meaningful crime data to aid all levels of government in the development of impactful crime-reduction strategies, as well as the appropriate deployment of resources, and would better assist law enforcement leaders in their decision-making process,” said Director McCraw.
To view the Annual Report of 2012 UCR Data Collection, visit: http:/ /www.txdps.state.tx.us/director_ staff/public_ information/2012CIT.pdf.