CrimeWatch Austin

Always keeping an eye peeled for crime.

About CrimeWatch Austin

CrimeWatch Austin was founded in 2017 by Charles Duoto to investigate the larger crime trends in Austin, Texas and its surrounding Central Texas areas. It is a data journalism project that compares and contrasts Austin's crime data to other Texas cities, and even the United States as a whole. The fundamental goal was to understand where crime happens in Austin, what types of crimes happen and at what rate, and how Austin's police stacked up in officer involved shootings.

Data sources include the Austin Police Department, Houston Police Department, Dallas Police Department, and the Washinton Post.

About Crime in Austin, Texas

This graph is a representation of reported crimes for 2015 in Austin, Texas.

In 2015 alone, there were 38,573 reported crimes in Austin, Texas. That's over 105 known crimes per day. Austin, Texas is a busy place for the police. It's very important to note that the Austin Police Department chose to omit drug offenses.

The high amount of theft is what makes Austin seem like a rough city. Simply put, theft is by far the most common crime in Austin, making up 73 percent of the total reported crimes in the city.

Violent crimes make up a much smaller part of the crime break down for 2015. There were only 23 total murders in Austin for 2015. Austin is fairly safe in relation to violent crimes.

Is Crime Increasing?

Crime is fairly constant, with around 3,000 reported crimes per month. However, the data for 2015 does show an upward trend. Yes, crime in the city is up, at least it was in July 2015.

The following table contains information for every crime reported by the Austin Police Department for 2015. You can filter the data by the type of crime, the date, or the zip code. You can use the search feature to search for entries in each column.


"In Austin, theft is by far the biggest criminal problem, outpacing every other crime committed combined."

Officer Involved Shootings

Police Brutality and officer involved shootings

Surpringly, no governmental agency keeps tabs on how many total people police fatally shot each year in the United States. The only data is supplied by the Washinton Post database on fatal police shootings, and it only dates back to 2015.

As of 2015, there have been nearly 1000 fatal officer inolved shootings per year in the United States. There was a slight dip in fatal officer involved shootings in 2016, although it was not statistically significant. Do note that 2017 is not yet over, and thus the above graphic may seem misleading. For 2017, the police are on track to reach the same number of fatal officer involved shootings.

Officer Involved Shooting Racial Data

Use the dropdown form to select the racial break down of fatal officer involved shootings by year.

A common media stereotype is that African-Americans are unfairly targeted by the police. The data showed that for the years 2015, 2016, and 2017, more white people where fatally shot by the police.

While this result may seem surpring, it is imporant to understand that when you account for the popullation difference between these races that the media stereotype becomes more true. According to the 2010 census, African-Americans make up only 14 percent of the United States population, but are victims of officer involved shootings at a much higher rate than their non-hispanic white counterparts, which make up around 62 percent of the population.

How Does Austin Stack Up?

Despite being a much smaller city than both Dallas and Houston, Austin had more fatal police involved shootings.

An important question Austin needs to ask itself as a city is, why are our police officers involved in more fatal shootings than both Dallas and Houston combined?

There are no easy answers here, but it is very likely that mental illness coupled with the large homeless population would result in more officer-involved incidents.

Officer Involved Shootings

"Despite being a smaller city than both Dallas and Houston, Austin's police officers were involved in more fatal shootings than both other cities combined in 2015."

Crime heat map

Austin Crime Heat Map for 2015

The Crime Heat Map shows that as you get closer to downtown Austin, the more likely you are to encounter crime. This is fairly consistent with the population dispersal. Neighborhoods farther from downtown Austin are generally less populated and more quiet.

Previous journalistic reports have shown that neighborhoods on the east side of Insterstate 35 are the most dangerous or crime ridden. Our Crime Heat Map confirms this with Austin neighborhoods with the zipcodes 78753 and 78741 having the highest number of total crimes.

The Crime Heat Map shows Austin areas by zip code. You can click on individual areas to see more information the like the crime frequency or location name.

Map Fact

"East Austin has always been the rougher side of Austin. The Crime Heat Map only reinforced this stereotype."

Contact and Resources

Charles Duoto is a Mass Communication & Digital Media graduate student at the Texas State University School of Journalism and Mass Communication. This data journalism project was part of his Summer Code Camp course with Dr. Cindy Royal during the summer 2017 semester.

Charlie Profile Photo

Charles Duoto

Graduate student, college instructor, tech blogger, data journalist, documentarian, and radio host.

Data Sources

APD Annual Crime Dataset 2015

APD Officer Involved Shootings

HPD Officer Involved Shootings

DPD Officer Involved Shootings

Washington Post Fatal Force Database

Additional Credits

  • Pixabay for its wonderful Creative Commons images.
  • The various Texas Law Enforcement Agencies for their data and transparency.
  • The Washington Post for its data and reporting on fatal officer involved shootings.