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Homicide Rates Plummet in Texas Cities

The homicide rates in Texas cities have plummeted according to a new report from crime data analyst Jess Asher, published in The Wall Street Journal. In some cases, the rates dropped by more than half.

The latest numbers are part of a nationwide trend that started as the COVID-19 pandemic wound down. Crime, including homicides, spiked during the pandemic, driven by a variety of social factors.

However, many Texas Republicans pointed to the nationwide rise as proof that cities, which are usually under Democratic control, were hotbeds of violence brought on by liberal policies, “defunded” police, and unpoliced illegal immigration. In 2022, popular conservative preacher Ed Young called Houston, the state’s biggest city, “the most dangerous . . . to live in.”

“You see any difference when you put left-wing progressives in office?” Young said. “If Houston and Harris County is to survive, we had better throw those bums out of office.”

The “bums” were not thrown out of office, but the homicide rate dropped regardless.

In Houston, the homicide rate dropped by 26 percent. In Dallas (which has a Republican mayor, Eric Johnson, but who was elected as a Democrat), it was even more, 28 percent. San Antonio saw a 50 percent drop. Fort Worth’s homicide rate dropped by a whopping 56 percent, and Austin’s by 42.

In El Paso, supposedly the place where illegal immigration is making the north side of the border a crime-ridden ware zone, the total number of homicides reported so far in 2024 is . . . zero. None. Not that the city had far to drop. At this point in 2023 according to Asher’s data, their homicide number was only 4.

Ironically, the only major city in Texas that did have a rise in homicides is Lubbock, which remains under Republican control. Their murder rate increased by 75 percent. However, in pure numbers, the rise looks less bad. In 2023 they had 4 murders by this time, while in 2024, that number is 7.

Garland saw a small increase of 1 murder (25 percent), and is run by a non-partisan mayor who leans conservative. The same goes for Arlington.

The Wall Street Journal Data shows that the vast majority of cities in America, big and small, saw declines in the murder rate. This is to be expected as crime is down all over the country across almost all offenses.

That said, conservative messaging on the subject has not changed and likely will not based on these numbers. Scaremongering about crime is a potent political tool and is likely one of the reasons that Governor Greg Abbott was able to turn around his last election campaign that was flailing in the wake of the Robb Elementary School Massacre. Focusing on crimes supposedly committed by illegal immigrants almost immediately turned his polls around and he sailed to easy re-election.

It’s therefore, not surprising that politicians have continued to hammer the idea of a giant crime spree. Some 63 percent of the country now believes that crime is out of control in spite of all available data.

Jef Rouner
Jef Rouner
Jef Rouner is an award-winning freelance journalist, the author of The Rook Circle, and a member of The Black Math Experiment. He lives in Houston where he spends most of his time investigating corruption and strange happenings. Jef has written for Houston Press, Free Press Houston, and Houston Chronicle.

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