Austin Texas has a slogan, “Keep Austin Weird.” They even have t-shirts. And now they’re out to prove that they are on the cutting edge of… something.
After a 12-hour meeting on June 25, the city council voted unanimously to cut $100 million from the police department’s $400 million budget. Not everyone thought it was a brilliant idea.
Corby Jastrow, president of the Greater Austin Crime Commission, told the city council:
“You cannot solve a public safety crisis by creating another.”
Maybe not, but the council seems intent on trying.
The decision doesn’t immediately change the police department, although it does direct the city manager to freeze any police hiring and then bring to the council proposed changes in how the $100 million will be spent, presumably redirected to social programs.
Cary Roberts, executive director of the Greater Austin Crime Commission, noted that crime was up in the city last year and sai:
“Explain cutting cops to the 32 murder victims last year, the 515 rape victims, the 1,063 robbery victims, the 2,267 victims of aggravated assault, and the 35,744 victims of property crime.”
Citizens also took issue with the rush to defund the police.
Responding to tweets from the Mayor, one citizen tweeted:
“[Mayor Steve Adler], does this mean you’ll be giving up your APD security detail? Kinda hypocritical if you don’t.”