SAN ANTONIO – Driven by a spike in thefts and other property crimes, San Antonio saw a nearly 12% rise in overall crime through October compared to the same period last year.
There has also been a 67% jump in homicides, which not even the 53 migrants killed in a trailer in June account for fully.
A San Antonio Police Department presentation to the Public Safety Committee on Wednesday showed increases in each of the three categories of Group A offenses: crimes against property, crimes against people, and crimes against society.
Although the 15% rise in crimes against property crime, especially thefts, has been helping to force up the overall crime rate, crimes against people and society are up 4% and 8%, respectively, too.
“Last two years we’ve seen a lot of catalytic converter thefts, which have shot through the roof. That contributes a lot. We’ve seen a lot of property thefts, which that would fall into that category. We’ve had a lot of thefts from porches. I think somebody mentioned porch pirates. And we’re going to see a lot of that during the holidays,” Assistant Chief of Police Karen Falks told KSAT.
As for the violent crime numbers, Falks said, “You’ve heard Chief McManus speak many times. When it comes to violent crime, you know, it’s those folks that are involved in risky behavior, gang violence and drug activity. Folks involved in personal disputes are the ones that find themselves in that kind of activity.”
There were 84 more homicides than the same 10-month time frame in 2021, which was already considered a particularly bloody year in San Antonio. Although the 53 migrants killed in a tractor trailer in June account for much of that spike, it’s not all of it.
Falk attributed the rise in homicides to similar factors as the overarching violent crime category.
“Individuals involved in gang activity and drug activity putting themselves in risky behavior, personal incidents. We see a lot of family relationships -- fathers, sons, incidents like that -- where people are killing each other, which is a shame. But those are the incidents that we are seeing where homicides are occurring,” she said.
New crime reporting system
Comparing the crime statistics to years prior to 2021 may be more tricky.
Like other departments across the county, the San Antonio Police Department switched from the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) System in 2021 to the National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS) at the FBI’s behest.
NIBRS includes more offenses than were included in the UCR data. It also tallies every crime during an incident, whereas UCR statistics only included the most serious crime.
For instance, if a robber killed someone while robbing them, only the homicide would be included in the UCR data. NIBRS, however, would count both crimes.
The 24 offenses that are part of the three main “Group A” categories are the most serious crimes tracked under NIBRS. Falks said there are additional “Group B” offenses, like DWI, that are only recorded for statistics and if an arrest is made.
SAPD continued to track crime stats under the UCR model for 2021, too, to help with comparisons to previous years.
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