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San Antonio Is The Only 'Big Four' Texas City To See Drop In Crime According To DPS Report

San Antonio Police Chief William McManus
Joey Palacios | Texas Public Radio
Texas Public Radio
San Antonio Police Chief William McManus

You can read this story in English by clicking here.

The Texas Department of Public Safety has released its "Crime In Texas" report for 2020 showing overall crime dropped statewide by nearly 3% compared to 2019, but the number of reported murders soared statewide by 37% in the same comparison.

Local officials report the increase in murders in San Antonio was fueled in part by fatal family violence cases during the pandemic.

Overall crime dropped nearly 16% in San Antonio, comparing 2020 to 2019. Overall crime in Bexar County was up by little more than 1% in the same comparison.

In the city, there were 126 murders, compared to 105 the previous year. In the county, there were 16 reported murders last year, compared to 13 in 2019.

“The decrease in the overall crime numbers is a testament of the strong relationship between SAPD and the community we serve, said San Antonio Police Chief William McManus. "Crime thrives when residents don’t trust their police department. We will continue to collaborate with residents to ensure that we are preventing and solving crimes so that we can continue to ensure San Antonio is a safe city for all.”

SAPD reports crime can fluctuate for several reasons and they continuously look to data to inform their crime fighting strategies. Police also said while there was not the dramatic spike in homicides that other major cities across the country saw, the city still had an increase.

Family violence is still one of their major concerns, and they have continued to implement community wide initiatives to address it and break the cycle of violence that often impacts the most vulnerable, a statement read.

In San Antonio, the amount of robberies, assaults and larceny rose slightly, while the number of rapes, burglaries and auto thefts declined slightly.

"Chief McManus and the San Antonio Police Department should be commended for these results. And the city as a whole is to be congratulated for working together to bring the crime rate down," said San Antonio City Councilwoman Melissa Cabello Havrda, the chair of the city council's public safety committee.

She said it's good news that there was a 16% decline in overall crime in San Antonio, but there's work to be done regarding robberies, assault and larceny — which rose slightly.

"We know the pandemic had a lot to do with these results, but we did better than the other large cities in Texas. We’ve been hard at work through the Public Safety Committee, making sure that we have the needed response to crime and also putting innovative practices in place for community policing, such as our SAFFE officers, that help prevent crime," Cabello Havrda said.

In Bexar County, rapes, assaults, burglaries and auto thefts all rose slightly, while robberies and larceny were the only two crime categories to see small declines.

The total number of crimes reported in the city in 2020 were 66,076. Breaking down the numbers even more for San Antonio last year, there were

  • 1,164 reported rapes
  • 2,100 reported robberies
  • 7,860 reported assaults
  • 7,606 reported burglaries
  • 40,513 cases of reported larceny
  • 6,707 reported vehicle thefts.

San Antonio was the only city among the four most populated in the state to see the total number of reported crimes drop last year, compared to 2019.
Dallas saw the biggest increase among the big four with a 2.5% rise. Austin saw a 1% increase. Houston's increase was less than half-a-percent of 1 point.

More than 1,900 murders were reported across the state in 2020 with 400 of them in Houston. The number of murders in the Bayou City were nearly more than all the murders reported in San Antonio, Dallas and Austin combined.

Outside of murders, the other two crime categories to see increases statewide were aggravated assaults up 16%, and vehicle thefts were up nearly 9%.

What were the most valuable items stolen in Texas by category in 2020?

The report found more a billion dollars' worth of vehicles were stolen in Texas last year, making it the number one most valuable category.

The report points out that burglars like all sorts of things, so the category of miscellaneous finished second on the list at nearly
$654 million. Currency and notes finished third, followed in order by jewelry and precious metals, office equipment, clothing and furs, firearms, and televisions and other electronic equipment.

And in a throwback to the state's wild west days, livestock are also on the list. Nearly three-million dollars worth of livestock was stolen last year.

A total of $2.3 billion worth of property was stolen in Texas last year, but that's a 20% drop in stolen valuables from 2019.

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