Crime reports nationwide dropped last year, but Austin saw increases in every category, says the Austin American-Statesman. Violent crime rose 5.8 percent in Austin, while property crime jumped 9.3 percent. Murders rose 50 percnt from 20 to 30. Still, Austin had the lowest violent crime rate among the state’s five biggest cities, with 0.54 crimes per 100 people last year.
Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo cited a major problem with substance abuse. More than 45 percent of the parolees in Austin “are not from this community, and a lot of them either have mental illness or substance abuse problems,” he said. The department will begin working with a new computer statistical program in the next few months that will show where to focus resources, he said. Susan Wallace, vice president of a neighborhood association, said the main problems continue to be drugs, prostitution and “crimes of opportunity.” “It all still revolves around the drug trade because people want something they can take quickly, turn over, get the bucks for it and go get their stuff,” she said.