The crime statistics listed here are all thanks to the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) programs used by law enforcement agencies in Texas, and nationwide. The first of these programs in the United States was the Committee on Uniform Crime Records, developed by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) in the 1920s. The first IACP crime collection program, in 1930, was voluntary, and gathered information from 400 police agencies in 43 states. The FBI was authorized as the national clearinghouse for the information collected by that program.
UCR programs collect data on a summary basis, which provides reliable information about crime, but has many limitations. In 1985 a new system was outlined for Incident Based Reporting (IBR), whereby crime data is collected electronically, and includes the circumstances of each incident. The national system, called NIBRS, has been slow to grow, but state programs and the FBI have worked in partnership to assist in the transition. In 2015, the Criminal Justice Information Services Division’s Advisory Policy Board set a goal to sunset summary reporting systems and adopt NIBRS by January 1, 2021.
Texas first adopted the Uniform Crime Report in 1976, and the Department of Public Safety accepted the responsibility of collecting, validating, and tabulating reports from across the state. The Uniform Crime Reporting Section, created specifically for this purpose, is part of the Crime Records Service division of the department.
The state became certified to collect NIBRS data in 1998, and in 2015, House Bill 11 set a goal to transition all of Texas to NIBRS by September 1, 2019. About 550 agencies met that goal. Another 900 agencies pledged to transition by January 1, 2021. (We have not yet been able to confirm if this goal had been met.)
In Texas, the Department of Public Safety collects data for the national UCR program from police, sheriff’s offices, and its own officers. Data are estimated for non-reporting agencies and those that did not have 12 months of data. Agencies that contributed data for the 2019 Crime in Texas report include: 76 college and university police departments, 58 independent school district and zero population police departments, 247 county sheriff’s offices, and 673 city police departments.
Mass Attacks in Texas
According to the 2019 Crime in Texas report, the largest challenge facing the law enforcement community that year was mass attacks in public places. The FBI reported that Texas led the nation in active shooter events in 2019. The six that occurred in the state resulted in 36 deaths and 52 wounded. The U.S. Secret Service reported that Texas had 3 of the country’s 34 mass attacks in public places that same year, resulting in the death of 33 people. Below is a summary of those three attacks.
On May 29, 2019 a gunman shot three people in Liberty County, killing one, at a plumbing company. He fled the scene then shot and injured a sheriff’s deputy during pursuit. The gunman shot and killed himself before he could be arrested.
On August 3, 2019 a gunman killed 23 people and injured another 25 when he opened fire in a Wal-Mart in El Paso. Although the accused’s trial began in 2020, it was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On August 31, 2019 a gunman fired at police officers before going on a shooting rampage through Midland-Odessa, killing 7 people and wounding 25. The attack ended when the gunman was shot and killed by police.
After these attacks, Governor Abbott created a task force of state legislators and subject matter experts to find ways to detect and prevent mass attacks before they happen.
Crime Summary, 2019
During 2019, there was a reported total of 805,879 index offenses in Texas. This represents a crime-volume increase of 1.1 percent when compared to 796,924 reported offenses in 2018.
In 2019, there were 2,779.3 crimes per 100,000 people, compared with 2,776.6 in 2018, according to data compiled by the Department of Public Safety’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program. The 2019 crime rate is based on a population of 28,995,881.
Monthly crime variations show that, in general, crime occurrences peaked in the month of July. During 2019, Texas law enforcement officers made 698,834 arrests.
Of the seven major crime categories, the UCR defines violent crime as murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault; property crime is defined as burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft. The 2019 violent crime rate increased 1.6 percent from 2018, and the nonviolent, or property, crime rate increased 1.0 percent from 2018.
The estimated value of property stolen during the commission of index crimes in 2019 was more than $2.2 billion, and about 26 percent of that property was recovered.
|Crime||2019 Rate||2018 Rate||% Change|
|Violent Crime Total||415.6||413.4||0.5%|
|Motor Vehicle Theft||264.5||242.9||8.9%|
|Property Crime Total||2,363.70||2,363.20||0.0%|
|Index Crime Total||2,779.30||2,776.60||0.1%|
The reported number of arsons committed in Texas in 2019 was 2,366, a decrease of 3.0 percent from 2018. In 2019, arson victims suffered losses of $50.9 million, a 34.7-percent decrease when compared with 2018 arson losses of nearly $80 million.
Family violence decreased by 0.1 percent in 2019 from 2018. In 2019, there were 196,902 reported incidents of family violence involving 211,536 victims and 206,275 offenders. In 2016, there were 197,023 reported incidents of family violence involving 212,885 victims and 207,360 offenders.
DUI and Drug-Related Crimes
In 2019 there were 71,959 DUI arrests in Texas, a decrease of 2.7 percent from 2018. Of those arrests,4,448 or 6.2 percent were of persons under the age of 21.
Texas reported 128,295 drug abuse arrests in 2019, a decrease of 13.6 percent from the previous year. Sales and manufacturing arrests accounted for 19,958 of the total (about 16 percent), and the remaining 108,337 arrests (84 percent) were for possession.
In a breakdown by drug type, the arrests for sales and manufacturing were 58.6 percent synthetic narcotics, 17.3 percent opium or cocaine, 9.4 percent marijuana, and 14.6 percent other. By contrast, possession arrests were 41.7 percent marijuana, 18.8 percent opium or cocaine, 9.6 percent synthetic narcotics, and 29.9 percent other.
There were 407 hate crimes incidents reported in Texas in 2019, an increase of 7.1 percent from 2018. Incidents involved a total of 521 victims and 499 offenders.
Reporting for Hate Crime bias improved dramatically in 2019. Broken down by bias motivation, 64.5 percent of incidents were motivated by race/ethnicity/ancestry, 15.5 percent by sexual orientation, 9.8 percent by religion, 4.5 percent by disability, 1.9 percent by gender, and 1 percent by gender identity. Crimes occurred most frequently in residences, and 55.7 percent of offenders were white, 21.2 percent were black, 3.3 percent were multi-racial, and the racial group of 18.7 percent of offenders was unknown.
Law Enforcement Assaults and Deaths
Assaults on law enforcement personnel increased 4.8 percent in 2019 to 4,838. Nine law officers were killed in the line of duty in 2019, and another five died in duty-related accidents.
Source: Texas Department of Public Safety, Austin; www.dps.texas.gov
Last updated July 2021.