AUSTIN, TEXAS — July 29, 2016 — As work begins on next year’s municipal budget, the Greater Austin Crime Commission issued a challenge to the Austin City Council to fund public safety first and called for the release of the latest taxpayer-funded community policing study.
“We urge the mayor and council not to disregard the public safety challenges facing our community,” said David L. Roche, president of the Greater Austin Crime Commission. “If ignored, public safety will end up like mobility and transportation: too far behind to catch up—and with far more grave and deadly consequences.”
Roche and Dr. Michael L. Lauderdale, a Crime Commission board member and former chair of the city’s Public Safety Commission, will discuss police staffing during a presentation at the Public Safety Commission’s meeting on Monday, August 1, at City Hall. The meeting begins at 4:00 p.m. in the Boards and Commissions Room.
“Austin is falling further behind when it comes to public safety,” Roche said. “Violent crime is up more than 19 percent compared to this time last year. Emergency and urgent dispatch calls have increased during the past five years, which has resulted in longer response times to calls for help. And time available for community policing has fallen to disturbingly low levels.”
“How many more taxpayer-funded studies do we need to tell us what we already know?” Roche asked. “While it’s evident that rapid growth strains law enforcement, the Austin City Council has failed to adopt even minimum police staffing recommendations since 2012, when the first taxpayer-funded study confirmed the city needs many more patrol officers.”
“We urge citizens to contact the mayor and council to voice their support for funding public safety first—and to do it now,” Roche said.
The Greater Austin Crime Commission is a nonprofit organization established in 1997 to support Central Texas law enforcement and promote regional public safety planning.