Murders increase, other violent crimes decrease in Amarillo


While murders increased in Amarillo, other violent crimes decreased for the third consecutive year.

This news comes from preliminary crime statistics for 2021. These statistics include eight index crimes which law enforcement agencies nationwide - including the Amarillo Police Department (APD) - report annually to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Violent crime in Amarillo decreased more than 10 percent in 2021 compared to 2020, with lower numbers of robberies and aggravated assaults being the biggest factors.

APD has focused on reducing violent crime the past two years by initiating a vigorous and immediate response to shooting incidents. APD participates in Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN). PSN provides additional investigative resources, including partnerships between local, state, and federal agencies. PSN also adds federal prosecution options for gun crimes and other related violent crimes in areas where historical data shows a high incidence of violent crime.

Homicides increased in Amarillo from 15 to 21 in 2021. APD solved 18 of the 21 homicides. Investigations are ongoing in remaining unsolved cases. 

APD has historically maintained a high clearance rate on homicide cases with an 85 percent clearance rate for 2021. The average clearance rate nationally is around 50 percent.

Property crimes in Amarillo decreased 8 percent in 2021.

“While the statistics are preliminary, we are seeing some hopeful trends, as well as some areas that are going to require more attention,” said APD Chief Martin Birkenfeld. “We are still focusing on reducing shootings and other violent crimes such as robbery. Our strategy for the coming year includes a new project to address violent crime by adding some cutting-edge technology and a Real-Time Crime Center (RTCC).”

The RTCC will improve APD’s ability to respond effectively to crimes in progress. The RTCC will provide officers with up-to-the-minute information from various data sources, including video surveillance and license plate readers.

“Overall, Amarillo is a very safe place to live, work and play,” Birkenfeld said. “APD is committed to working hard to keep all our neighborhoods safe. We will do this by allocating our resources properly, leveraging technology, and most importantly by building strong partnerships with Amarillo residents.”

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