Is crime on the rise in downtown Austin? - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Is crime on the rise in downtown Austin?

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Compared to last year, aggravated assaults in downtown Austin are down 42 percent and individual robberies are down 18 percent.

Although the numbers are significantly lower, there are still violent crimes that are grabbing the public's attention.

Violent crimes in downtown Austin continue to be highly publicized.

Horrific surveillance video from over the summer captures a suspect walking at 6th Street and Trinity.

As he gets closer to the crowd, he punches two women in the face; one of them is pregnant and falls to the ground.

These type of crimes are what have put downtown Austin in a bad light but police tell us criminal activity is at the lowest level in six years.

This dramatic decrease comes after law enforcement reported a 12-year high just last year.

"I think one of the big drivers is working with the community and we're doing something called the public order initiative, this is basically focusing on lower-level crime to where it doesn't create an environment where criminals feel comfortable being in," said Commander Jason Dusterhoft, Austin Police Department.

They are also hoping to make downtown a zero-tolerance area for all types of drugs. More than 100 people have been arrested this year for felony narcotics.

"If you look at these people we're arresting, these are the really, really bad offenders. These are the people that commit 80-percent of our crime."

APD says this has helped make Austin the second safest city in the United States for our size.

Police have also really tried to tackle aggressive panhandling downtown, situations where people don't feel comfortable when someone comes up to them.

In 2008 there were 212 arrests and so far this year there have been 909.

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