Could 2021 be San Antonio’s deadliest year in over a decade?

74 homicides through June, the deadliest first half of any year since at least 2011; violent crime down overall

SAPD crime statistics show homicides increased in 2021
SAPD crime statistics show homicides increased in 2021

SAN ANTONIO – If current trends continue, San Antonio could see its deadliest year in more than a decade, San Antonio Police Department crime statistics released Tuesday show.

The 74 homicides recorded in the first six months of 2021 are more than any other year since 2011 -- the earliest available on the city’s website. However, at the same time, violent crime overall is at its lowest level since 2015.

There were 69 homicides in the same period during 2016, the deadliest year in the past decade, which ended with 149 homicides.

Though they spiked again in 2020, with 128 homicides by year’s end, the 71 recorded at the end of June still falls short of this year.

The trend continues, with the homicide count to date growing to 87 -- including a 15-year-old hit by a stray bullet Tuesday morning -- compared to 80 in 2021.

By the FBI’s definitions for the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program, homicides include murders and non-negligent manslaughter. The UCR Program tracks “justifiable homicides” differently, which it defines as “(1) the killing of a felon by a law enforcement officer in the line of duty; or (2) the killing of a felon, during the commission of a felony, by a private citizen.”

The number of deaths may be up, but rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults are each down compared to last year. Lumped together, violent crimes are down 13.5%, according to SAPD’s stats.

The 4,869 instances recorded are the lowest for the start of any year since 2015, when SAPD logged 4,005 violent crimes for January through June.

Though car thefts specifically have jumped up 20%, property crimes as a whole are also down 3.9% overall from 2020 and are lower than any other first half of a year since at least 2011.

Simple assaults are up by 2.3% over 2020.

SAPD spokeswoman Mariah Medina sent KSAT the following statement:

“Crime can fluctuate for a number of reasons. The Department continuously looks to data to inform proactive policing strategies. Across the country, many major cities are also seeing increases in homicides and other violent crimes. But it’s important to note that homicides are part of a much bigger picture of the state of violent crime in San Antonio. Our numbers show, preliminarily, violent crime as a whole – homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault – was down for the first six months of this year in comparison to the same period last year. Similarly, we saw a decrease in property crimes. The unfortunate fact is that while numbers show a decrease in crimes, crime is still occurring. Our primary concern is for the victims of these offenses and ensuring justice in each and every case.”

About the Authors:

Garrett Brnger is a reporter with KSAT 12.