The major crime rate in Texas is down, according to the recent release of data compiled by the Texas Department of Public Safety's Uniform Crime Reporting Program.
The annual report, released last week, shows that the major crime rate across the state is down three percent.
To track the data, the program uses a statistical summary tool referred to as the Crime Index, which collects data in seven index crimes including murder, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny-theft and motor vehicle theft.
According to the report, there were 1,378 murders in 2008, down three percent from 1,415 in 2007. The biggest decline was in theft of motor vehicles, which saw a drop of more than nine percent. There were also decreases in the number of rapes, robberies and larceny-thefts committed last year.
The only two types of crimes which saw an increase was aggravated assault, up four percent, and burglary, up .8 percent.
In a statement released with the report, Col. Lamar Beckworth, interim director of DPS, said the reduction in Texas' overall crime rate is the result of law enforcement's tough approach to crime.
"I commend the brave men and women of local law enforcement who continue to work every day to keep our state and its citizens safe," Beckworth said.
Texas law enforcement agencies also reported making more arrests in 2008. While the number of juvenile arrests was down by 1.2 percent, the number of adults arrested increased by 2 percent.
The report also tracks hate crimes and family violence incidents.
In 2008, there were 246 incidents of hate crimes reported across the state and 193,505 incidents of family violence.
Erath County Sheriff Tommy Bryant said most people do not understand what falls under the category of family violence. Senate Bill 68 of the 77th Legislature amended the Family Code to include dating violence.
"Most people think of family violence as incidents between married couples or blood relation," Bryant said. "What many people don't realize is that the family violence classification also includes dating violence and members of the same household, including roommates."