We’re number one, but it’s not good news.
According to a Wall Street Journal article, Austin ranks first among the fifteen largest US cities for percentage increase in murders this year and third in robberies.
A week from tomorrow, the Austin City Council begins budget adoption. The proposed budget includes cutting 100 police positions, and several council members have suggested additional reductions.
Can we afford to cut cops? Read our open letter to the Austin City Council here.
In the first half of this year, murder (+64%), auto theft (+30%), building theft (+24%), robberies, aggravated assaults, arson, and burglaries have increased.
Citywide, aggravated assaults and individual robberies were up last year. Violent and property crime also increased significantly downtown and in the entertainment district. Response times are slower and traffic fatalities increased. (Learn more in the Crime in Austin report.)
A majority of Austin voters do not support cutting cops. There is strong community support for police reform but not cutting cops when violent crime is increasing. The Austin City Council should invest in public safety reform and reject budget cuts that put the community at risk.
What can you do?
- Use these links to call and email the Austin City Council. Keep contacting your council member until you get a response.
- Ask them to stand with a majority of Austin residents who support reform but oppose cutting cops. Basic patrol services, community policing, investigations, and response times will suffer.
Thanks to you and the thousands in our Neighborhood Network, we have been able to educate the community about public safety issues. The discussion won’t end next week.
The Austin City Council must stop using the police budget as a proxy war. Symbolic acts to cut police officers do not solve inequity, poverty, and racism. Making the community less safe does not fix failures in affordable housing, education, and public health.
P.S. Ask your family and friends to join the Neighborhood Network and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.