The number of serious crimes reported to El Paso police in 2020 declined by 18% compared to the previous year, continuing a remarkable trend, the FBI reported this week.

Violent crime reported to police — murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault — fell by 12% last year. Reported property crimes — burglary, larceny-theft, auto theft and arson — fell by 19%.

Since 2010, the number of reported property crimes per 100,000 residents in the city of El Paso has dropped by more than 57%. The rate of reported violent crimes in El Paso has declined by almost 28% in that time.

By comparison, the property crime rate nationwide is down by 33% since 2010, while violent crime is down a little more than 1%, the FBI data shows.

Much of the national attention to the new FBI data released on Monday focused on a 30% increase in homicides in 2020 over the prior year. 

The number of El Paso homicides declined in 2020, but that was largely because 23 people were killed in the Aug. 3, 2019, mass shooting at the Cielo Vista Wal-Mart. 

The 28 homicides in El Paso last year were higher than any year other than 2019 over the preceding decade.

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Robert Moore is the founder and CEO of El Paso Matters. He has been a journalist in the Texas Borderlands since 1986.