Texas Gov. Greg Abbott appears to be on the warpath against those governing the city of Austin, which voted to slash about a third of the local police department’s budget in response to nationwide civil unrest over police brutality. After it was reported that the city has hit the highest number of homicides in 20 years, Abbott blasted the city government on Twitter.
“Austin experiences highest number of homicides in 20 years,” Abbott tweeted. “This is why it is absurd that Austin is defunding police.”
Austin experiences highest number of homicides in 20 years.
This is why it is absurd that Austin is defunding police.
It is also why Texas will act to roll back that defunding and consider taking over policing some areas of Austin.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) November 9, 2020
So far, Austin has recorded 43 homicides in 2020, and the year isn’t even over yet. In October, the governor blamed rising property crime rates in the city on “defunding” and “deemphasizing” law enforcement.
Hours after Abbott’s tweet, the Austin Police Department (APD) held a press conference to discuss four of the most recent homicides. Lt. Jeff Greenwalt with APD Homicide and Aggravated Assault Units gave an update on the increase in crime.
“We are looking at a significant increase this year for some reason—we see all the same types of murders that we’ve seen in years past, we have a lot of robberies that have resulted in somebody dying which makes it capital murder, and we have a fair amount of domestic violence that occur as well,” said Lt. Greenwalt.
He also stated that it is too early to tell if the city council’s recent vote to “defund” the APD has had an impact on the rise in crime rates. The officer stated that the surge in violent crime began before the council’s vote.
According to monthly reports in August, when the council voted on the measure, the city already had ten more homicides than it had in the same time frame last year. However, Greenwalt did say that the APD welcomes the governor’s offer to assist with policing in the city. “If it reduces violent crimes and makes the community safe, then it’s a good idea,” he said.
Gov. Abbott has been railing against Austin’s leadership since it voted to cut the APD’s budget by $150 million. He has also threatened to take action against the city and other cities that pass similar measures. As RedState’s Sister Toldjah wrote:
“Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has not been amused by any of this and has explored ways to stop efforts by other cities in the state from doing what Austin and Dallas have done. On Thursday, he unveiled a proposal that would punish any city that voted to cut funds from their police departments by essentially defunding the cities themselves”
The governor has also indicated that he would deploy state police to make up for the lack of officers in the city, whose police department has been understaffed for over a year. The shortage of law enforcement personnel has caused delays in 911 call responses.
To make matters worse, the “defund the police initiative” and the anti-police sentiment that has been encouraged by the far-left politicians that govern Austin have pushed an alarming number of officers to resign or move to other departments. Each of these factors has contributed to making the city less safe, but the city council and Mayor Steve Adler don’t seem to care.
Austinites are also not happy about the city council’s vote in August. Local groups like “Take Back Austin” are trying to push for change in the city, which has been dominated by far-left Marxist types for years. There seems to be a resistance movement growing in response to the radical decisions being made by the local government, but there is still more work to be done before people can affect real change in the city.
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