The FBI says violent crime in Texas was up in 2017 – at the same time the ratio of police officers to residents dropped to its lowest level in decades. The stats are from the FBI’s annual Uniform Crime Report, or UCR, released Monday.
As Texas’ population continued to grow last year, the ratio of police officers to residents sank. According to the UCR the balance of 2 officers per 100,000 residents dropped to 1.5 officers.
Only seven states had a lower ratio, but the ratio of officers to residents dropped nationwide last year.
Criminal justice experts were quick to say that lower police presence should not be taken as the reason violent crime went up in 2017. At least not after one year’s worth of reporting.
Alex Piquero is a criminology professor at the University of Texas at Dallas. He told the Texas Tribune that officers retiring across the state simply might not have been replaced at the same rate. And that there is no “magic number” in determining how much police presence there needs to be anywhere.
Two bright spots for Texas – violent crime, though up last year, was still lower than in much of the country. And property crimes dropped across Texas in 2017.