Crime Indicators:Fear of Crime Fraud Incarceration Law Enforcement Officers Property Crime Violent Crime
“In general, the nation’s largest metropolitan areas are much safer today than they were in years past. Within metropolitan areas, older, more urbanized, poorer, and more minority communities have benefited the most from these trends, narrowing the disparities between cities and suburbs and underscoring that crime is not a uniquely urban issue, but a metropolitan one.” – Elizabeth Kneebone & Steven Raphael, The Brookings Institute (2011)
According to the data compiled in the FBI’s “Uniform Crime Reports” (UCR), law enforcement agencies throughout the nation reported an average decrease of 5.4 percent in number of violent crimes and a 5.4 percent decline in property crime in 2013 over the previous year. However, while the City of Houston reported that the violent crime rates decreased by 5.7 percent, the number of property crimes increased by 5.8 percent from early 2012 to 2013. Thus, to what extent does the city of Houston, as well as the Houston Metropolitan Statistical Area, reflect the nation’s general downward trend in crime rates? How does it compare to its in-state metropolitan peers, such as San Antonio and Dallas?
The data on crime incidence presented here were obtained primarily from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Publication, “Crime in the United States”, an annual report in which the FBI compiles the volume and rate of property and violent crimes from agencies across the nation and by state. This section focuses on fear of crime, violent and property crime rates, incarceration rates, the number of law enforcement officials, and incidents of fraud in the Houston-Woodlands-Sugar Land M.S.A., followed by comparisons to the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington M.S.A., the San Antonio-New Braunfels M.S.A., and the average of all United States M.S.A.’s. These measurements can gauge the ways in which the Houston region excels in the protection of its citizens, as well as identify areas needing further improvement. However, it is also important to note that while UCR publications provide a crucial resource, they do not provide the full scale of crime in regions across the nation as many crimes go unreported on a daily basis.