As 2021 enters its sixth week, beleaguered Austinites hoping for a respite from 2020’s multi-decade high in violent crime are being disappointed.

Tragically, the city has already seen eight homicides this year. By this time in 2020, that number was five; in 2019, it was two.

There were five homicides in January, followed by three during the first week of February.

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.

Violent crime subsequently rose by double digits, with homicides up 64 percent year over year in 2020.

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:

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.

Adam Cahn

Adam is a longtime conservative activist and an avid UT and Yankees fan.