With tens of thousands of people moving to Austin, TX, the crime rate in the city is on the rise. And if you are mulling over a move to Austin, you may be concerned about the security of this metro area, especially if you keep late nights.
While there may be few instances of violent and property crimes, Austin is very safe compared to other big cities. A study by SpotCrime shows that the violent crime rate in Austin has reduced by 6% over the last year. Downtown may be the center of most of the crimes in Austin due to its nightlife nature, but it is generally safe to walk around at night.
In the following sections, we will discuss how safe Austin is and highlight several ways you can stay safe in Austin’s famous Downtown area—even at night.
Is Austin, Texas Safe at Night?
Just like any metro areas experiencing an unprecedented influx of individuals, a bubbling economy, and a growing nightlife, there is bound to be an increase in the crime rate, and Austin is no different.
While the growing crime rates may be a thing of concern for most locals, when compared to metro areas like New York City, Chicago, and Atlanta, Austin is far lower. For instance, the violent crime rate in Los Angeles is 96% higher than the national average, which is 96% greater than that of Austin.
However, a recent study by the Austin City Government revealed that local Austinites are concerned about the increasing danger. 55% of the 2000 individuals interviewed said they felt unsafe walking alone in downtown Austin at night. However, only 10% of the individuals in the survey felt unsafe walking in the same area during the day.
Is Downtown Austin Safe?
Austin’s 6th Street Downtown is both loved and despised by Austinites due to the increase in the crime rate of the area. Popularly referred to as the “Dirty 6th” by the locals, 6th Street is the must-visit destination for nightlife activities. Most bars and nightlife centers occupy this area between I-35 and South Congress.
A search on CrimeReports shows that over the last couple of years, there have been 58 violent crimes in the Austin Resource Centre for the Homeless (ARCH) area, which is home to Austin’s homeless shelter around the 6th Street Downtown area. One of the primary reasons for the precarious nature of 6th Street is due to the massive population of homeless individuals camping around the area.
However, with the rise in the number of crimes in the Downtown area, there has also been an increase in the number of security agents patrolling the area. A report released in January 2020 revealed that Governor Greg Abbot requested for heavy police presence at the University of Texas campus and the Capitol area. This move has helped reduce crime rates over the last few months.
As thrilling and entertaining Downtown Austin can be, ultimately, you must adhere to safety tips when visiting the downtown area, especially at night. With the multitude of bars and drinking spots in the area, it is common to run into a drunken homeless person. Notwithstanding, Downtown Austin can be a safe and a great place to visit at night—as long as you remain aware of your surroundings and practice some basic safety tips.
Tips for Staying Safe in Downtown Austin At Night
Downtown Austin may be generally safe, but you should be security-conscious, especially when visiting the area at night. Below are some tips to help you stay safe when visiting Austin and Downtown Austin at night:
- If you’re visiting Downtown at night, it is advisable that you leave your car at home. Issues with car break-ins, exorbitant parking costs, and the threat of towing are rampant, especially at night. You should consider using a taxi, pedicabs, buses, and rideshare services like Lyft.
- Like every growing city, Austin is home to a multitude of homeless people that seem to congregate around the 6th Street Downtown area. While not all homeless persons in the area are aggressive, you should keep your distance and watch out for any erratic behaviors.
- If you’re visiting the downtown area for the first time, you should avoid the corners of Neches and 7th street once it gets dark. With the Austin Resource Centre for the Homeless (ARCH) around the corner, there is a massive convergence of mentally ill and other people down on their luck around this area.
- If you must visit the area, especially at night, leave your eye-catching jewelry at home. Walking around with expensive jewelry may attract criminals to you. Most importantly, it is best to leave the area before midnight to avoid becoming a victim of a crime.
While there are cases of assaults and violent crime from time to time, the Austin area—as a whole—is pretty safe. When it comes to Austin’s Downtown area, however, you should always be aware of your surroundings and stay security-conscious to lower your risk of being a victim of a crime.