by Andy Hogue
A poll commissioned by the Greater Austin Crime Commission helps confirm that there is growing dissatisfaction with the direction the Austin City Council and the Travis County Commissioners Court has taken the city.
Some takeaways from the poll:
- 53% responded they oppose slashing funding for the Austin Police Department
- 40% responded they support reducing funding for APD
- 47% responded city is on “wrong track”
- 34% responded city is going in “right direction”
- 84% responded they are dissatisfied with the city’s homelessness policy
- 74% responded they are dissatisfied with how traffic is being addressed
- 92% responded they feel safe at home and in their neighborhoods
- 56% responded they feel safe downtown
- 80+% responded they are satisfied with Austin Fire and county EMS
“Most Austin voters oppose reducing police positions,” said Corby Jastrow, president of the Greater Austin Crime Commission, in a press release. “There is strong community support for police reform but not cutting cops when violent crime is increasing and response times are slower.”
The survey was conducted from July 14 to 17 of likely Austin voters.
“The Austin City Council should invest in public safety reform and reject budget cuts that put the community at risk,” said retired Adm. Bobby R. Inman, former president of the Greater Austin Crime Commission, in the release. “Austin voters strongly back Chief Brian Manley and the Austin Police Department.”
Resistance is beginning to grow.
The Travis County Republican Party was among a handful of entities that opposed de-funding the Austin Police Department, though public support is strong for keeping funding.
In the media…
The Austin City Council unanimously voted to cut its police department budget by $150 million, after officers and the city’s top cop faced months of criticism over the killing of an unarmed Black and Hispanic man, the use of force against anti-police brutality protesters and the investigation of a demonstrator’s fatal shooting by another citizen.MEENA VENKATARAMANAN, Texas Tribune
Of the cuts, $21.5 million is shifted in the form of “reinvestments” to programs such as $100,000 for abortion access and $6.5 million a year for the homeless under the “Housing First” policy of sheltering and feeding the homeless, with no expectation for them to seek treatment—essentially allowing them to live off taxpayer support until they die.Chuck DeVore, Forbes
Beginning in October, about $21 million will fund social services, community resources including response to the coronavirus, mental health aid programs, violence prevention, victim services and food, housing and abortion access. Another $80 million will be redistributed to similar city services throughout the year, and $49 million will be spent on city’s Reimagine Safety Fund, which aims to provide alternative forms of public safety and community support besides policing.ACACIA CORONADO, AP
“Some cities are more focused on political agendas than public safety,” said Governor Abbott. “Austin’s decision puts the brave men and women of the Austin Police Department and their families at greater risk, and paves the way for lawlessness. Public safety is job one, and Austin has abandoned that duty. The legislature will take this issue up next session, but in the meantime, the Texas Department of Public Safety will stand in the gap to protect our capital city.”Governor Greg Abbott