Safety Alert: Texas City Grapples with Highest Numbers of Homicides in the State

Safety Alert: Texas City Grapples with Highest Numbers of Homicides in the State

Texas is a large, diverse, and historically significant state. However, it is not without its dark side: among the nation’s most elevated crime rates. In 2020, the number of homicides in Texas was 1,379, which placed it second only to California, according to the FBI. Which Texas county, though, has the highest murder rate per capita? Which city in this state has the highest murder rate? The answer might catch you off guard.

Murder Rates going over the Roof

Texarkana, a small community on the border of Texas and Arkansas, has the highest murder rate in all of Texas. With 20 homicides in 2020, Texarkana had an alarming rate of 55.2 murders per 100,000 residents. With 8.1 murders per 100,000 people, it’s over seven times higher than the national average. When it came to robbery, property crime, and serious assault, Texarkana topped the state.

Bowie County, where Texarkana is located, had the highest murder rate in Texas in 2020 with 23 murders. With 28.6 per 100,000, Bowie County was the most violent, followed by Harris County (14.9), and Dallas County (14.8).

The Homicide Capital of Texas

Houston, the capital and most populous city in Texas, has the highest murder rate in the Lone Star State. More over one-third of all homicides in Texas occurred in Houston in 2020, with 464 killings. With 19.8 murders per 100,000 inhabitants, Houston ranked second among large cities in Texas for murder rates. The murder rate in Houston rose by 42% between 2019 and 2020, more than any of the other top ten U.S. cities.

Harris County, which includes Houston, had 671 homicides in 2020, more than any other county in Texas and second highest in the nation (behind only Los Angeles County). The rape rate, robbery rate, burglary rate, and auto theft rate were all highest in Harris County.

Undocumented immigrants take over El Paso, Texas, border, knocking guards to the ground in a standoff over a new Texas law

The Causes of the Bloodshed

The high rates of violence in Texas are caused by a multitude of causes, including but not limited to: social instability, poverty, inequality, gangs, narcotics, and firearms. With a rate of 13.6% in 2019, Texas outpaced the national average of 10.5%, as reported by the U.S. Census Bureau. The Gini index, which measures income inequality, was 0.48 in Texas in 2019, which was higher than the national average of 0.46.

The fact that gangs and organized crime are pervasive in Texas, particularly along its borders, is another consideration. Over 5,700 gangs in Texas are believed to be home to over 100,000 gang members, as reported by the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Notable gangs in Texas include the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, the Tango Blast, the Mexican Mafia, the Crips, and the Bloods, among others. Drug and people trafficking, extortion, robbery, and murder are just a few of the illicit activities in which these groups engage.

The third consideration is the ease with which firearms can be acquired and used in Texas, a state with notoriously lax gun control regulations. The Gun Violence Archive reports that in 2020, 3,956 people were killed by firearms in Texas, more than any other state in the US. In 2020, there were 1,751 gun homicides in Texas, which was the highest number of any state in the nation. Open or concealed carry of handguns is legal in Texas without a permit, and private transactions or gun shows are exempt from background checks.

The country’s social and political unrest in the past few years, particularly in 2020, is a fourth consideration. The pandemic COVID-19, the economic downturn, racial justice demonstrations, and the presidential election have all contributed to widespread unease, resentment, and schism. The likelihood of violence may have been higher due to these reasons because individuals may turn to violence as a means of dealing with, expressing, or settling their complaints.

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Cultural diversity, possibilities, and tourist hotspots abound in Texas. On the other hand, there are a lot of problems, threats, and crimes in this state. Some of Texas’s cities and counties rank among the most dangerous in the country, and the state as a whole has one of the highest murder rates. The murder rate in Texarkana is seven times greater than the national average, making it the capital of Texas for murder.

With approximately 500 homicides in 2020, Houston ranks higher than any other city in Texas. Poverty, inequality, gangs, narcotics, firearms, and social instability are all contributors to the violence. If Texas is serious about reducing violence, it must attend to these root causes and offer its communities additional support, resources, and programs to avoid violence.

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