Austin city officials are building a wall downtown to help deter crime.
Amid the nation’s border security crisis, Texas’ liberal capital city seems to be following President Trump’s new slogan of “Build a wall and crime will fall.”
Downtown off Red River Street near 7th Street, an alley well-known for prostitution and drug trade will now be sealed off on both sides.
The alley is located only a block away from Austin’s government-owned homeless shelter and is a hot spot for organized crime, according to city officials. The combination of the homeless, mentally ill, and criminal predators has created a dangerous environment and is hurting surrounding shops.
“You can see people dealing drugs, exchanging drugs for money, you can see fighting, people having sex, defecating—it’s terrible, it’s a third-world country back there,” said Dave Machinist, part owner of a concert venue next to the alley.
“That alleyway needs to be shut down, it should have been shut down over five years ago when we started complaining about it because it is the head of the drug and prostitution ring here in Austin,” said Luke Ackers of Hoboken Pie, a pizza shop across the street from the alley.
The city’s Economic Development Department is finally taking action after spending over a year studying the problem. They’ve decided to build fences—at least ten feet high—to block access to the alley on the front and back sides. A city spokesperson said the fence is a “solution that will provide the best outcome, if that changes we’ll look at other options.”
City Council Member Kathie Tovo, a staunch progressive, said the wall should help deter crime.
“Having a fence there does eliminate the passageway from Waller Creek up to Red River and also we hope will discourage the type of activities that have been taking place in the alley,” said Tovo.
Despite the common-sense wall idea, city officials are still finding a way to waste taxpayer money: they’ve allocated up to $100,000 for the project.
City officials are currently searching for a contractor to begin construction.