As 2021 enters its sixth week, beleaguered Austinites hoping for a respite from 2020’s multi-decade high in violent crime are being disappointed.
The predictable development follows years of leftist decisions from Austin City Hall that have brought about statewide and even national derision.
In 2019, the all-Democrat Austin City Council made it legal for homeless individuals to camp in nearly every public space throughout the city (except for city hall, notably). The council’s action sparked a swarm of new tent cities, a drastic increase in the city’s homeless population, a more dangerous public environment, and a wildfire of public backlash.
Then last summer, as part of the national “defund the police” movement, the council slashed the local law enforcement budget by one-third.
As law enforcement advocate Dennis Farris explained:
Hey got a minute @MayorAdler homicide #8 and we are only 37 days into 2021. That’s one every 4.6 days at this rate we will be at 80 for the year. Remind me again how you and your handler @GregCasar thought it was a good idea to defund the police. @ATXPOA #WeMissLee
— Dennis Farris (@Farris_actual) February 6, 2021
Gov. Greg Abbott recently declared municipal police defunding to be a legislative emergency item, suggesting a state-level solution could be forthcoming (especially since Dallas has taken steps to follow Austin’s lead). Nevertheless, in the past, Abbott’s promises have often been more hat than cattle.
However, languishing Austinites will soon have a say on at least part of the homelessness issue, as the question of legalized camping will be put to a public vote on May 1.