With the exception of the August 1, 1966 University of Texas Tower shootings, the number of homicides in Austin, Texas has reached an all time high.
From January 1, 2020 through August 28, 2020 there have been 33 homicides record in Mayor or this time period at 33 as of August 28, 2020. The total for 2019 was 36. Total year homicides were 32 in 2018 and 25 in 2017.
Notorious for bad traffic conditions and lengthy highway log jambs, police are continuously understaffed to meet needs. There have been 56 fatalities so far this year.
Is there blood on Austin Mayor Steve Adler’s hands? Some are beginning to ask as the liberal politician has followed the lead of other high crime Democratic controlled cities where murders and offenses increase while police budgets are cut.
Adler’s Austin is leading the nation with a stunning 65 percent in year-to-year increase of murders.
Former Travis County Sheriff and state lawmaker Terry Keel, along with former State Rep. Ron Wilson and a growing number of citizens believe so.
Across Texas, voters are upset that Austin’s City Budget will cancel the next three cadet classes and reduce the department’s overtime budget by $21.5 million effective October 1, 2020. Over $100 million more would be reduced department sometime the following fiscal year.
Keel and Wilson sent a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott urging the governor to consider a legislative plan that would consolidate the police department with the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Abbott told a national television audience this month that he has proposed legislation prescribing the freezing of tax revenue for any city that defunds their police or law enforcement department.
“You’ve seen and you have documented what happened in Portland, in Seattle, in Chicago, New York, and cities across the country,” Abbott told Fox News’ Sean Hannity. “Now Austin, Texas, has defunded law enforcement [and] police … despite the fact that over the first six months of this year, the city ranked number one in the United States for the highest percentage increase in murders was Austin, Texas.”
“[T]hey will lose the lifeblood of the revenues they receive from property taxes in Texas,” Abbott explained. “What this does, in English, is it is going to defund cities and cities’ ability to operate at all if they try to defund law enforcement.
The Level-Wilson proposal offers that when the governor determines public safety is jeopardized in cities “due to insufficient municipal resources being appropriated for public safety needs” and DPS has to supplement general law enforcement duties, then the legislature can combine the city police department with DPS as a “special municipal police department division” that would answer to the DPS director.
This proposal would apply to any Texas city with a population of 1 million or more but has fewer than two sworn police officers per 1,000 residents.
The State Comptroller would oversee taking tax monies from the citiesplan would also take a portion of a city’s General funding to operate the division and create a specific budget at the state level for the department.
By law, Abbott is forced to wait until the 2021 fiscal year begins and officially introduce such proposals during the next legislative session. In the meantime, he has placed Texas Department of Public Safety officers in the capitol city to deter looting, rioting and organized violence.