When Texas’ Department of Public Safety released its latest crime statistics last week, it crowed that the statewide drop in the 2008 crime rate was due to “Texas' tough approach to law enforcement.” But the Austin American-Statesman said that crime rates have been trending down across the U.S. for years, and more steeply than in Texas.
In three of the four most-populous states, total violent crimes declined in 2008: California, by 3.3 percent; Florida by 4.3 percent; New York by 2 percent. Those states are growing, too. What happened in the fourth state, tough-talking Texas? The total number of violent crimes was up 1.2 percent in 2008. Yes, up. That was due entirely to an increase in aggravated assaults, which occur far more frequently than other violent crime.