In its inaugural quarterly gun violence report,
the Austin Police Department has recorded a slight increase in major
violent offenses involving guns compared to the same time last year.
the summer of 2019, APD released its initial gun crime report – part of
an Austin City Council resolution to address gun violence – that
analyzed gun crime in Austin from 2014-2018. The resolution was inspired
by the Do Not Stand Idly By campaign and the city of Houston’s Commission Against Gun Violence, which was created after the 2018 Santa Fe High School shooting.
the total number of violent offenses with firearms in the first quarter
of 2020 is nearly the same as it was in 2018, APD reported an increase
in murders and non-familial aggravated assaults with guns over the last
five years’ first-quarter numbers, and robbery was slightly higher than
it was the same time last year.
The resolution directs the city
manager to provide a quarterly report on gun violence in Austin,
including where the incidents occur, demographic information on
individuals involved, and trends across reporting history, as well as
any details “determined to be appropriate by city staff.”
report contains demographic and geological data for incidents involving
firearms, showing downtown Austin as a hot spot for gun violence, with
small clusters also occurring north and south along the east side of
Interstate 35. The report also showed that Latino males have been the
overwhelming majority victims of all gun violence crime types in Austin
in 2020 so far, except in instances of familial aggravated assault and
The resolution also asks for information on gun violence
perpetrated by people with a history or association with hate groups.
However, in its inaugural quarterly report, APD said the agency has no
way to determine how many gun violence offenders are or were members of a
hate group “due to the protected status of hate speech and statutes
prohibiting the collection of intelligence information about hate
groups.” The statement references federal regulation 28 CFR Part 23,
from the Department of Justice, which states a project cannot collect
information on a person’s political, religious or social views,
associations or activities unless it directly relates to criminal
The department adds that, as an alternative, it can
provide the number of incidents of gun violence committed by members of
criminal street gangs, since Texas state law requires law enforcement to
track membership of such gangs.
“Although not necessarily
considered hate groups, the ‘signature’ of some criminal street gangs
may include beliefs and/or practices that attack or malign minorities or
other classes of people,” APD said in its report. “The APD Gang
Suppression Unit is responsible for all criminal investigations
involving gang members and maintaining the Record Management System,
which also includes entering a gang member’s information into the
statewide database, TXGang.”
Graph courtesy of the city of Austin.
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