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2012-07-12

Texas crime rate drops for second consecutive year

Special to the Courier

Administrators with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) recently announced that for the second consecutive year the major crime rate in Texas has dropped significantly. According to data compiled by the DPS Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program that was released in the Annual Report of 2011 UCR Data Collection, the overall crime rate - the number of crimes per 100,000 people in Texas - decreased by 8.3 percent in 2011.

"The continuing downward trend in index crimes is directly linked to the outstanding efforts of local law enforcement in Texas," said DPS Director Steven McCraw. "The dedication and perseverance of all Texas law enforcement agencies in protecting the citizens and visitors of this state is commendable."

The report also shows violent crime and property crimes both decreased in 2011 compared to 2010. The violent crime rate was down 9.3 percent in 2011, and the property crime rate decreased by 8.2 percent.

The UCR program collects reported crimes in eight categories (index crimes) from Texas law enforcement agencies. The eight categories include murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and theft, motor vehicle theft and arson.

"While decreased crime as measured by the index crime rate is encouraging, unfortunately it is not an accurate reflection of all crime in Texas, and does not properly illustrate the threat posed by criminal enterprise organizations operating in Texas," said McCraw.

"Contemporary organized crime is increasingly trans-national, opportunistic and hidden. Drug smuggling, human trafficking, extortion, corruption and kidnapping are just a few of the crimes committed by criminal enterprise organizations that are not reflected in index crime reporting. Greater participation in the National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS) will provide increased accuracy and utility to Texas crime statistics."

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.

The Annual Report of 2011 UCR Data Collection is available at

http://www.dps.texas.gov/director_staff/public_information/annrep2011.pdf.