As a criminal lawyer in Fort Worth, it is important to understand crime statistics in the area. Fort Worth has been certified to participate in the National Incident Base Reporting System (NIBRS) since 2006 and reports Data to the Texas Department of Public Safety. One of Fort Worth’s strategic goals is to become the safest major city in the United States. Data from the FBI along with other third-party rankings, are used to determine progress toward that goal.
Below is a portion of the 2015 First Quarter Crime Report for the City of Fort Worth.
Understanding NIBRS Figures
NIBRS compiles detailed reports on two types of offenses: Group “A” offenses and Group “B” offenses. The two groupings are based on the amount of reporting required for each. Both incidents and arrests are reported for Group “A” offenses, while only arrests are reported for Group “B” offenses.
The following criteria is used to determine whether a crime should be designated as a Group “A” offense:
- The seriousness or significance of the offense.
- The frequency or volume of its occurrence.
- The prevalence of the offense nationwide.
- The probability of the offense being brought to law enforcement’s attention.
- The likelihood that law enforcement is the best channel for collecting data regarding the offense.
- The burden placed on law enforcement in collecting data on the offense.
- The national statistical validity and usefulness of the collected data.
- The national UCR Program’s responsibility to make crime data available not only to law enforcement but to others having a legitimate interest in it.
Group “A” offenses are categorized into one of the three following categories:
1) Crimes Against Persons; 2) Crimes Against Property; 3) Crimes Against Society.
1) Crimes Against Persons = Scores one offense for each victim
2) Crimes Against Property = Scores one offense for each distinct operation (except Motor Vehicle Theft / one offense is counted per stolen vehicle)
3) Crime Against Society = Scores one offense for each violation
- Homicide Offenses
- Sex Offenses, Forcible
- Sex Offenses, Non-forcible
- Assault Offenses
- Burglary / Breaking and Entering
- Larceny / Theft Offenses
- Motor Vehicle Theft
- Counterfeiting / Forgery
- Human Trafficking
- Extortion / Blackmail
- Fraud Offenses
- Gambling Offenses
- Kidnapping / Abduction
- Pornography / Obscene Material
- Prostitution Offenses
- Stolen Property Offenses
- Weapon Law Violations
- Drug / Narcotic Offenses
- Destruction / Damage / Vandalism of Property
(UCR Part I includes the following eight offenses: Criminal Homicide, Forcible Rape, Robbery, Aggravated Assault, Burglary, Larceny-Theft, Motor Vehicle Theft, and Arson.)
1.4 Significant Methodology and Definition Differences
A significant difference between NIBRS and UCR Traditional Summary Reporting is that for Crimes Against Persons, NIBRS counts the number of victims, while UCR counts the number of incidents. Consequentially, NIBRS figures tend to show more Crimes Against Persons than UCR figures. In addition, the definitions for Part 1 offenses used in Summary Reporting are different than the offense definitions used by the NIBRS.
First Quarter 2015 Citywide NIBRS Crime Report
Overall, citywide Group A and B crime decreased 4.4 percent in the First Quarter of 2015 compared to the First Quarter of 2014. Crimes Against Persons increased 3.3 percent overall. Murder & nonnegligent manslaughter and negligent manslaughter increased by 30 percent and forcible sex offenses increased 13.2 percent. Crimes Against Property decreased 5.1 percent overall with decreases in arson, robbery, fraud offenses, and burglary/breaking and entering. Crimes Against Society decreased 2.3 percent.
2.3 Crimes Against Persons (NIBRS – Group A)
In the First Quarter of 2015, Crimes Against Persons increased 3.3 percent overall with 2,910 offenses (victims) reported compared to 2,817 offenses (victims) reported in the First Quarter of 2014. Murder, nonnegligent manslaughter and negligent manslaughter increased 30 percent while forcible sex offenses increased 13.2 percent. Of all the Crimes Against Persons in the First Quarter of 2015, 50.7 percent were known to be domestic-related.
In the First Quarter of 2015, there were 13 homicide victims, which is an increase of three victims from the First Quarter of 2014. These homicides were the result of a range of motives, including four domestic cases, two argument/fight cases, two robbery cases, two unknown cases, one gang related case, one child abuse case, and one reckless/negligence case. Eight cases involved firearms. Seven of the 13 cases have been filed. There were five homicides in Council District 5, three homicides in Council District 2, two homicides each in Council Districts 8 and 9, and one homicide in Council District 4.
Most Crimes Against Persons are simple assaults, defined under NIBRS as an “unlawful physical attack by one person upon another where neither the offender displays a weapon, nor the victim suffers obvious severe or aggravated bodily injury involving apparent broken bones, loss of teeth, possible internal injury, severe laceration, or loss of consciousness.” Simple assaults decreased 4.6 percent in the First Quarter of 2015 compared to the First Quarter of 2014. Approximately 60 percent of simple assault cases were known to be domestic-related.
The second-largest Crimes Against Persons category is aggravated assaults. Aggravated assaults increased 2.4 percent in First Quarter 2015 compared to First Quarter 2014. Approximately 36.1 percent of aggravated assaults were known to be domestic-related. Nearly 55.8 percent of all aggravated assaults occurred within a residence, 25.7 percent near a roadway, 6.3 percent in a parking lot or parkinggarage, and 4.5 percent in a bar or night club.
Intimidation, another assault offense, is defined as “to unlawfully place another person in reasonable fear of bodily harm through the use of threatening words and/or other conduct, but without displaying a weapon or subjecting the victim to actual physical attack.” Intimidation offenses increased 28.6 percent from the First Quarter of 2015 to the First Quarter of 2014.
There were 31 Kidnapping/Abduction offenses in both the First Quarter of 2015 and the First Quarter of 2014. It is important to understand what is included in this count.
Kidnapping/Abduction is defined by the National Incident-Based Reporting System as “the unlawful seizure, transportation, and/or detention of a person against his/her will or of a minor without the consent of his/her custodial parent or legal guardian.”The Texas Penal Code further divides this definition into four categories: unlawful restraint, kidnapping, aggravated kidnapping, and unlawful transport. Please refer to Texas Penal Code Title 5, Chapter 20 for full definitions, but below are abbreviated definitions of each:
- Unlawful restraint: Intentionally or knowingly [restraining] another person. Restrain: Restrict a person’s movements without consent, so as to interfere substantially with the person’s liberty, by moving the person from one place to another or by confining the person. Restraint without consent is accomplished if by force, intimidation, or deception or any means.
- Kidnapping: Intentionally or knowingly [abducting] another person … not coupled with an intent to use or to threaten to use deadly force.
- Aggravated Kidnapping: Intentionally or knowingly [abducting] another person with the intent [for example] to hold him for ransom or reward … use him as a shield or hostage…inflict bodily injury.
- Unlawful Transport: For pecuniary benefit [transporting] an individual in a manner that is designed to conceal the individual from … law enforcement authorities … and [creating] a substantial likelihood that the individual will suffer serious bodily injury or death.
Of the 31 kidnapping offenses this quarter, 23 were unlawful restraints, 5 were kidnappings, and 3 were aggravated kidnappings. In 76.9 percent of all cases, the victim knew the suspect, 64.1 percent were known to be domestic-related, and in 53.8 percent of the cases, the victim was dating or married to the suspect at the time of the incident.
In the First Quarter of 2015, forcible rape offenses increased 35.1 percent compared to the First Quarter of 2014. Of all forcible rape offenses, 71.3 percent were known offender-related, and 51.7 percent of all victims were 17 years of age or under. The Sex Crimes Unit did not identify any serial offenders in the First Quarter of 2015. The Sex Crime Unit continues the investigative process with the goal of bringing all perpetrators to justice.
The “Other” forcible sex offense category includes forcible sodomy, sexual assault with an object, and forcible fondling. These offenses increased 2.1 percent in the First Quarter 2015 and approximately 87.1 percent involved victims 17 years of age or under.
2.5 Crimes Against Society (NIBRS – Group A)
Crimes Against Society offenses are a reflection of the department’s mitigation and resolution strategies. Each violation is counted as one offense. In the First Quarter of 2015, Crimes Against Society decreased 2.3 percent compared to the First Quarter of 2014. Prostitution decreased 75 percent and gambling offenses decreased 66.7 percent. Pornography/Obscene Material offenses increased 66.7 percent and weapons law violations increased 15.6 percent.
2.6 Other Offenses (NIBRS – Group B)
Group “B” offenses are reported only when an individual is arrested. A Group “B” arrest report does not include incident data but uses only data elements that describe the arrestee and the circumstances of the arrest. Group “B” offenses decreased 8.9 percent in First Quarter of 2015 compared to First Quarter of 2014.
2.7 Gang Unit Report
The total number of gang-related offenses decreased 2.7 percent in the First Quarter of 2015, from 182 in 2014 to 177 in 2015.
What is Gang-Related Crime?
Gang-Related Crime is any criminal act, including but not limited to those involving gang members or gang associates committed for the benefit or furtherance of any criminal gang.