Is Austin, TX Safe To Visit? – Everything You Need To Know Before Traveling


is austin safe

Austin is one of the fastest-growing and most beloved cities in the country. It is a vibrant city full of musicians, artists, entrepreneurs, cowboys, and everything in between.

If you are thinking about visiting the city and have some questions regarding its safety, we have you covered. We deep dived into the statistics, crime reports and talked to the residents of the city to give you a better understanding of how safe the safe the city really is.

Is Austin Safe To Visit?

Statistically speaking, Austin is a moderately safe place to visit. According to statistics recently released by the FBI, Austin had the 73rd highest Violent Crime rate in the country in 2019, 414 incidents per 100,000 residents. It also ranked 59th for Property Crime rate in the country, 3189.7 per 100,000 residents.

The average violent crime rate for the United States is 366.7 per 100,000 residents and the average property crime rate for the United States is 2,109.9 per 100,000 residents.

As you can see from these crime rates, Austin’s violent crime rate is about the national average and Austin’s property crime rate is elevated.

The FBI’s Crime Data Report ranked Austin as the 11th safest city in the United States for crimes against a person and it was ranked 9th for crimes against property. The rankings were based on 22 cities with populations greater than 400,000.

According to NeighborhoodScout, you have a 1 in 245 chance of being a victim of violent crime in Austin. Compare that to 1 in 77 chance in Oakland, 1 in 55 chance in Detroit and 1 in 52 in St. Louis.

Austin’s mayor Steve Alder, promoted the statistics saying "the data show Austin to be a very safe city, the safest big city in Texas, and one of the safest, big cities in the country,

Austin Crime Stats

In 2020, Austin reported 48 murders, which is a 26% increase from 2019 where it reported 38 murders. As of September 2021, there already have been 66 homicides reported in Austin for the year, which is the highest its ever been.

Austin also registered 3,193 aggravated assaults (22% increase), 291 rapes (13% decrease) and 1,109 robberies (5% increase).

Here’s a breakdown of all the crimes in the city for 2020 compared with 2019:

  2019 2020 Percent Change
Homicide 38 48 +26%
Rape 334 291 -13%
Robbery 1,057 1,109 +5%
Aggravated Assault 2,612 3,193 +22%
Burglary 4,295 4,712 +10%
Burglary of Vehicle 12,351 12,065 -2%
Motor Vehicle Theft 2,975 3,909 +31%
Arson 102 134 +31%

**All data is from the 2020 Austin Police Crime Stats Report**

Austin’s Crime Rate vs The Rest Of Texas

Looking at the table below, you can see that in terms of violent crime, Austin ranks 7th among the most populous cities in Texas and it ranks 6th for property crime.

City Population Violent Crime (Per 100,000)

Property Crime (Per 100,000)

Houston 2,338,235 1095.23 4128.41
Dallas 1,338,551 774.64 3185.09
San Antonio 1,520,712 707.5 4844.84
Corpus Christi 329,256 702.49 3565.31
Fort Worth 873,069 560.21 3215.32
Arlington 397,377 516.89 3197.72
Austin 971,949 414.84 3189.57
El Paso 688,667 378.85 1818.88
Laredio 260,669 321.86 2483.61
Garland 236,243 316.62 3032.47
Irving 242,062 226.8 2539.43
Plano 290,413 149.79 1733.74

*All data is from the 2019 FBI Crime Stats Report**

*Crime rate is calculated by dividing the number of reported crimes by the total population; the result is multiplied by 100,000.

Catalytic Converter Thefts In Austin

During the pandemic there has been a meteoric rise in the theft of catalytic converters from cars. Catalytic converters contain precious metals such as rhodium, platinum, and palladium, which thieves can offload for a nice sum at scrap yards.

Austin Police data shows that 1400 vehicles have had their catalytic converters stolen in the months from January to August of 2021 – which is a staggering 704% increase from the previous year.

Repair and replacement of catalytic converters average between $1000-$4000.

The Austin Police Department offer a few tips for keeping your car safe from catalytic converter thieves:

  • Park in garages or well lit areas with cameras
  • Welded a cover over your catalytic converter.
  • Engrave a VIN number on the converter.
  • Activate and use a car alarm

The worst neighborhoods in Austin

Rank Name Violent Crime (Per 100,000)

The difference from Nat. Avg.

1 MLK 1,500 274%
2 Riverside 1,274 218%
3 Saint Johns 1,234 208%
4 Rosewood 1,162 190%
5 Bouldin 1,146 186%
6 Georgian Acres 1,120 179%
7 Springdale 1,102 175%
8 Heritage Hills 1,095 173%

*Based on data by AreaVibes

Driving tour of Austin’s worst neighborhoods:

Is Downtown Austin safe?

Downtown Austin is a generally safe area to visit. There is a small problem area in downtown known as ARCH, which is a resource center for the homeless. It is located on 7th and Neches and if you ever been to Skid Row in Los Angeles, the ARCH is very similar but on a much smaller scale. The area around ARCH can be sketchy, so you might want to make note of it and avoid it.

arch downtown austin

Many of the residents of Austin only complain about the homeless as being the biggest problem to downtown.

While visiting downtown you might encounter panhandlers and homeless people with mental illnesses that blurt out random things, but if you don’t acknowledge them and keeping moving forward, you shouldn’t have any problems.

Driving tour of Downtown Austin:

What do Residents of Austin say about its safety

  1. I’ve lived all over Texas and of all the big cities in the state, Austin feels the safest. Corpus Christi and Houston can get sketchy as hell. Dallas is slowly getting better.
  2. There’s a certain peace of mind when you are in Austin. Houston… not so much.
  3. I grew up in Austin and it is ridiculously safe for a city of its size.
  4. I live in a not very nice area of Austin, but I still feel safer here than I did in the less nice parts of Sugar Land. When I was living in Sugar Land, a whole family was murdered on my street. In Austin, the worst thing that’s happen is maybe a broken car window or bike theft every once in a while.
  5. East Austin isn’t the safest area in Austin but it’s comical to compare it to the rough areas you see in other major cities like St Louis or Detroit.
  6. Avoid Neches and 7th late night. It’s near a homeless encampment, where sketchy things often happen.
  7. Does Austin actually have any bad areas? I’ve never seen any. And by bad areas I mean where gangs are shooting each other, street fights are common and where drug dealers are openly selling drugs?
  8. There aren’t too many dangerous parts of Austin. Some areas of Austin maybe worse than others. East of I-35 can be a bit sketchy. Stay out of that area or don’t go there at night.
  9. If there is a check cashing store, a liquor store, a pawn shop or pain management clinic, you might be in a bad area.
  10. Rundberg, Dove Springs, East Riverside, some parts of the east side are all the areas I wouldn’t walk alone at night in.
  11. The “bad areas” of East Austin I would say is anything north of airport. Some spots south of the airport like east of pleasant valley or rosewood.
  12. The worst urban areas are in the low-income government subsidized apartment building with a lot of working poor. They are located in a few small pockets and the southeast side.
  13. Unlike Dallas and Houston, Austin doesn’t really have any super rough neighborhoods. Austin has like two intersections that would give me concern if I were walking around late at night whereas Dallas and Houston have whole sections of the city
  14. 5 years ago on the east side at 12th and Chicon, it was dubbed “the most dangerous corner in Austin”, not anymore though. Things have really turned around.
  15. Anyone who says they are “terrified” of any area of Austin is an idiot that needs to get out of their protective bubble more.
  16. I’ve lived in Dallas and nothing in Austin comes remotely close to a bad neighborhood compared to a Dallas’ bad neighborhood
  17. The east side is not scary. It may be rough around the edges and that roughness can intersect with daily life but it is gentrifying.
  18. The farther away you are from Pleasant Valley and Riverside drive, the better.

Is Austin safe at night?

Even though Austin is very safe city, we don’t recommend you walk alone in unfamiliar areas at night.

If you are out and about at night, stay in well lit areas, avoid alleys and turn around if you find yourself in an unsavory area and always be aware of you surroundings.

Is it safe to visit alone?

Austin is a great place for solo travelers and a safe one too. There are very few unsafe parts and the parts that are unsafe are relatively mild compared to unsafe areas of cities like Oakland, Albuquerque, Milwaukee, Memphis, and Nashville.

We do not recommend you visit the eastside of Austin and areas around the ARCH of downtown at night as they tend to be the sketchiest parts of town.

Tips to stay safe in Austin

  • ALWAYS be aware of your surroundings.
  • Make sure you store the belongings in your car away from view. Nothing is more tempting to a criminal than seeing valuables (such as purses, luggage, laptops, cell phones, cameras, etc.) in a parked car.
  • Avoid taking shortcuts that take you through alleys, and other unlit, isolated areas.
  • Always trust your gut. If an an area doesn’t seem “right,” then leave it and find a safe place where there are many people, or police, or security officers around.
  • When possible, walk in groups, especially at night
  • Park your car in a well-lit area and always lock your doors.
  • Completely close all your windows when you park the car.
  • Always keep plenty of gas in your vehicle so you do not have to stop at an unsafe or unknown location.
  • Walk with a purpose and know where you are going ahead of time.
  • Take an Uber or call a taxi instead of using public transportation late at night.
  • Be knowledgeable about the layout of the city and figure out where the good and bad parts are.

Final Thoughts

Combing through the crime statistics and taking into account testimonies from residents, Austin is a pretty safe city to visit.

For a city of its size, the crime rate is low and the main thing you would need to worry about is someone stealing your car or the valuables in your car.

Austin is one of those cities where you are going to be generally safe wherever you go. Even the ‘problem area’ of the eastside is turning around and making great strides in the opinions of residents of the city.

If you have ever visited a major metropolitan like Los Angeles, Chicago, or Atlanta, then Austin is a walk in the park compared to those cities.

However, this should not mean that you throw all caution to the wind. Always be aware of your surroundings and use common street smarts.

Austin is a beautiful city, with a great mix of culture and diversity and we hope you enjoy your visit!

Other Cities You Might Be Interested In:

Albuquerque, Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Barstow, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Corpus Christi, El Paso, Fort Worth, Houston, Las Vegas, Long Beach, Memphis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Oakland, Philadelphia, Reno, San Antonio, San Bernardino, San Jose, Slab City, St. Louis, Stockton

Mariska Lee

Mariska is a recovering attorney who gave up her professional job to discover new perspectives of life while traveling in a 2009 Ford Transit. She has been living the van life for 3 years and has not looked back since.

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