AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Officials with the city of Amarillo recently released preliminary crime data for 2021, according to statistics from the Amarillo Police Department.

According to a news release from the city, violent crime decreased more than 10% in 2021 compared to 2020, with 2021 reporting lower numbers of robberies and aggravated assaults. The department also reported an 8% decrease in property crime in 2021.

Homicides did increase in 2021, from 15 in 2020 to 21 in 2021. Officials reported in the release that the department solved 18 of the homicides, with investigations continuing for those that are unsolved.

“While the statistics are preliminary, we are seeing some hopeful trends, as well as some areas that are going to require more attention,” Martin Birkenfeld, the chief of the Amarillo Police Department, said in the release. “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).”

According to previous reports by MyHighPlains.com, the department received a $500,000 grant from the Department of Justice through the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Smart Policing Initiative for the development of a Real-Time Crime Center.  The center is expected to use technology, including surveillance cameras and license plate readers, along with crime analysts, to increase the department’s efforts, focusing on homicides, aggravated assaults and robberies within the Amarillo area. 

Officials stated in the release that the department is also using the Project Safe Neighborhoods program to help investigate shooting incidents and other violent crimes within the city.

“Overall, Amarillo is a very safe place to live, work and play,” Birkenfeld said in the release. “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.”