This June marks the one-year anniversary of the decision by Austin City Council to “defund” the police. What has been the result of that decision?
Violent crime is and has been on the rise in Austin, with homicides approaching the total for 2020 at the midway point of 2021. Some have argued that, when one also considers nonviolent crimes, the overall crime rate in Austin is down from 2020. Personally, I am much more concerned about being murdered than having an Amazon delivery stolen from my porch.
What are others saying about the “defund” movement? Scott Wolfe, Ph.D., a criminal justice professor at Michigan State University, believes that the efforts to defund or abolish the police have “emboldened criminals.” Dr. Wolfe defines emboldened criminals as those that consider the police as illegitimate and therefore “go against their authority,” and those that do not believe the law applies to them because it “only serves those in power.”
What about other cities that defunded the police? New York City, Oakland, Baltimore, Minneapolis, and Los Angeles are now planning to “refund” their police departments with tens of millions of dollars to support more efforts to confront the uptick in crime. No, Austin, is not on that list. Meanwhile, Mayor De Blasio will return $92 million to NYPD and Baltimore is reversing its efforts to cut its police budget by $22 million by proposing a $27 million increase.
And where is Austin now? Numerous APD departments have been eliminated or downsized. At least 130 officers have retired or resigned from APD since October 1, 2020. Even with the new cadet class starting this June, APD is losing more officers than it is bringing on. Austin is also spending millions of dollars to train APD officers in critical race theory. That is, taking the color of one’s skin into consideration when enforcing the law. Even more officers will undoubtably resign if they are forced to discriminate in law enforcement.
(See FoxNews.com, Criminal justice professor says calls to defund the police “emboldened criminals,” July 18, 2021).
June 2021 is indeed a dangerous anniversary. But the citizens of Austin are fighting back with a petition to increase the number of police officers to safe levels and, among other things, increases the training officers receive for addressing critical situations that may result in the use of deadly force. This is a nonpartisan effort to make Austin safe again. See http://saveaustinnowpac.com to sign the petition.