No matter where you’re from, you probably know that Texas is the largest state in the contiguous 48 states. We’ve got some pretty big cities here, and some of those big cities, as is pretty standard with big cities, have a substantial crime rate. It’s not surprising to find Houston and Dallas, therefore, on a list of the most dangerous cities in Texas. What might surprise you though are some of the smaller, more out of the way cities that made the list.
The Darrow Law Firm, a Houston-based criminal attorney office has published a list of the 10 most dangerous cities in Texas. According to their info, the Permian Basin mid-sized city of Odessa has come in at number one. They considered three factors when compiling this list: crime rate, police presence and socio-economic elements.
Here’s the top 10:
- Corpus Christi
- San Antonio
The law firm analyzed data from 2014 FBI crime data, which is the most recent complete data set. Because the rankings don’t only consider violent crime, the individual statistics may seem a bit counterintuitive. For example, Beaumont has the highest crime ranking (at #1 on the Darrow chart), but a higher police presence (218 per 100,000 residents) bumps it lower down the list than it would otherwise be. Darrow explains this a bit in their report:
“It may be no surprise that of all the Texas cities, Houston has both the highest raw number and rate of violent crime. However, Houston does not have the highest murder rate – which belongs to nearby Beaumont – and is in the bottom third for rate of rape – top spot here goes to Amarillo by a substantial margin.”
Darrow also explains the criteria used to determine what exactly constitutes crime vs. violent crime:
“According to the FBI, four main offenses are considered violent crimes: murder and non-negligent manslaughter (or homicide), rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.”
The report also analyzes the indications of the statistics, and states that there is a correlation between investing in policing and a lowered crime rate, as well as the converse stating that cutting a police force budget can have a significant impact on public safety.
As far as socio-economic factors, the report states that poverty, unemployment and lack of education also contribute to a high crime rate. In fact, it noted that a one-year increase in average years of schooling can reduce violent crime (murder and assault) by nearly 30%, as well as lowering the nonviolent crime rate.
Other cities that appeared further down the list include several smaller cities that surround the Dallas and Houston area including Plano and Pearland. Austin came in at 21, and Waco at 13.