Violent Crime on the Rise in Austin After City Defunds Police

AP Photo/Eric Gay

 

Thanks to its ultra-radical leftist government, the city of Austin might need to change its motto from “Keep Austin Weird” to “Keep Austin Crime-Infested.” Only months after the city council voted to defund the city’s police department, crime has risen sharply. 

In August, the city’s legislature passed a measure to cut about $150 million from the Austin Police Department’s (APD) budget. The proposal immediately slashed $20 million from the law enforcement agency, making Austin the first city to take such a step. 

The legislation cut the $20 million by canceling three upcoming cadet classes and taking an ax to overtime expenses. The funding will be reallocated to issues like housing, mental health services, violence prevention, and even abortion. 

“It is demoralizing for the officers. It is angering for the citizens because they’re having to wait longer for officers to get the calls. And it’s unsafe for citizens and officers,” Austin Police Association President Bill Cassidy said to Fox News. 

Austin has historically been a safe city with low crime rates. But now, there has been a significant spike in murders and aggravated assaults, according to the APD’s September crime report. So far, there have been 35 murders in the city. In 2019, there were 25 for the whole year. This represents a 40 percent increase. 

Aggravated assaults have also increased by 18 percent from 2019. “Our murder rate’s the highest it’s ever been,” Cassidy said. 

To make matters worse, the  APD has seen a significantly higher attrition rate, with many officers choosing to resign or work for other departments. According to Fox News, “Officers attribute the higher-than-usual departure rate to what they view as anti-police sentiment and a lack of support by community members and city leaders.”

Cassidy told Fox News that over the last five months, the APD has lost double the number of officers than usual. “[It’s] caused a mass exodus of people who are retiring,” he explained. “And I think what they didn’t expect is resignations and officers leaving the department to go work for other cities.” 

Shortly after the city council voted to defund the police, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott reacted by threatening to permanently prohibit cities from raising property taxes if their local governments passed similar measures. He also stated that his office is mulling a proposal that would bring Austin’s law enforcement agency under the control of the state government. 

“To defund the police, like what we’ve seen in Austin, and what’s reverberating in cities across the state … they are disgraceful,” Abbott said Wednesday. “They are reckless. It invites crime into our communities, and it endangers law enforcement officers and their families.”

The “Defund the Police” movement, which has been defined in a number of different ways, gained steam after the death of George Floyd, who was killed by a Minneapolis police officer. Other cities like Portland, Los Angeles, Seattle, and New York City have passed similar budget cuts. White progressives have been banging the drum of defunding police since Floyd’s death, cynically using the issue of police brutality to further their agenda. 

Austin voted to defund the police after officers shot and killed Mike Ramos, an unarmed black and Hispanic man as he drove away from the police in April. The APD is currently investigating the shooting. 

Those who oppose cutting the police department’s budget argue that the funding could be used for more effective training and equipment for officers. According to Fox News, “A recent Police Executive Research Forum survey of 281 police agencies found that the average young officer received 58 hours of firearms training and 49 hours of defensive tactical training, but just eight hours of de-escalation training.”

As I’ve argued before, initiatives that involve the defunding of police are not designed to keep blacks or any other American safe. It is a “feel good” proposal that endangers the lives of everyday citizens while the progressive elite sit protected in their homes, insulated from the violent crime that will inevitably follow. 

These actions are yet another example of white progressives pushing for policies on behalf of the black community without taking into account what black people think. A recent Gallup poll showed that 81 percent of black Americans do not favor limiting the number of police officers in their communities. 

But, as always, the white progressive elites care nothing for black Americans’ wishes or safety. Their objective is to reimagine law enforcement in a way that jibes with their Marxist ideals, which could end up making things worse than they already are. But would we expect anything different?

 

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