Crime in San Antonio was down in 2017 after a record year, according to data released by the San Antonio Police Department. The drop is credited to a multi-agency task force created to tackle violent crime.
After an average of 90 homicides annually between 2011 and 2015, 2016 was one of San Antonio’s most violent years with nearly 150 homicides. That number dropped in 2017 by about 16 percent to 125. Other crimes including rape, robbery, assault, and murder saw a six percent drop in 2017.
“There’s no question that 2016 was a difficult year for almost every big city across the country in terms of violent crime that they experienced,” said San Antonio Police Chief William McManus Thursday, adding that there was not a specific reason for the crime spike.
To combat the increase SAPD launched the Violent Crimes Task Force in conjunction with agencies like the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and Homeland Security Investigations last January.
Over the past year, the task force made 5486 arrests. Of those, 582 were gang members. It recovered 870 firearms, more than 300,000 grams of drugs and $1.2 million.
San Antonio Mayor @Ron_Nirenberg says the city “is determined to keep the momentum in the right direction” as @SATXPolice announces 16% drop in homicides in 2017 compared to 2016. @TPRNews. pic.twitter.com/PIIXoS4dyJ
— Joey Palacios (@Joeycules) January 4, 2018
McManus said there was a significant decrease in murders that were related to gang and drug activity — a 58 and 46 percent decrease, respectively.
“While these results are encouraging, we remain committed to working with the mayor and City Council with their support and support from the city manager and the community to implement programs that continue to address the factors that contribute to criminal activity in this city,” he said.
SAPD was not immediately able to provide data on specific portions of the city, but an full FBI crime report will be released in the coming weeks, an SAPD spokesperson said..
But McManus added that targeting one gang on the East Side led to a reduction in crime. Operation Triple Beam arrested 215 gang members, starting in September of 2017.
“We basically gutted them,” McManus said. “And since that time … that type of violent crime on East Side has pretty much dissipated.”
Joey Palacios can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @Joeycules