AUSTIN — “Over the weekend, our city had its 48th homicide of the year… To put this statistic in context, in the coming days we will break our ALL-TIME RECORD for homicides in one year.”
On Monday, citizen group Save Austin Now released a statement describing the tragic public safety news in Texas’ capital city, where the Democrat-run Austin City Council has enacted an array of harmful decisions on the public over the past couple of years.
“2019 – 36 homicides; 2020 – 48 homicides; 2021 – *48 homicides (through seven months),” wrote SAN. “On the current trajectory, we will suffer 86 homicides this year (a 79% increase from last year’s all-time record).”
The record killing sprees came after the city council controversially legalized unrestrained homeless camping throughout the city in 2019, and then defunded the Austin Police Department up to $150 million (a whopping one-third of their budget) in 2020.
The homeless camping decision sparked a firestorm of problems, violent crime, and citizen outrage, and was eventually overruled in May by a Save Austin Now petition campaign and a majority of Austin voters.
Meanwhile, the APD chief says the department is still in a “dire situation”; a growing wave of officers are leaving the force, 911 response times are “dramatically slower,” and it is expected that hundreds of officer positions will be vacant.
“The current police staffing crisis is manmade, perpetrated by Council Member Greg Casar, cheered on by Mayor Steve Adler, and supported by every member of the city council last year when they voted 11-0 to cut up to $150 million from the police budget,” said Save Austin Now. “We are currently 390 officers short of where we should be for a city of our size, and we have more than 150 current police vacancies.”
“Let me be absolutely clear: Austin has NEVER been less safe than it is today, and it will get worse with every passing week as attrition increases and our ability to recruit and retain is virtually nonexistent.”
Last week, SAN submitted their latest petition to city hall, this time to restore law enforcement. The petition, if its 25,000+ signatures are validated, will place a proposed public safety law on the ballot in the November election that would introduce some reforms to APD, as well as add new officers to the short-staffed crew.
“In just 107 days, Austin will become the first major city to overturn defund the police through a citizen vote,” said SAN cofounders Matt Mackowiak and Cleo Petricek in a joint statement last week. “Our city supports law enforcement, even if City Hall does not. Our message to [Mayor] Steve Adler and [Council Member] Greg Casar is this: November is coming.”