Image: The incident happened inside Zilker Park. (CBS Austin)
In 2020, the city council removed $150 million from the Austin Police budget. While this author has given special attention in the past to the obscenity of losing our sex crimes unit, there is another element that was eliminated causing all too tragic consequences.
APD was forced to cut patrols specifically designated for our once-pristine parks.
We have had two reported murders in Austin’s parks in two days. This can hardly come as a surprise. Where the police go, criminals flee; where they don’t, criminals gather. Adding police officers to a city has a measurable impact on the murder rate.
No doubt the leaders of our city will splutter and attempt to explain away these actions as part of a national trend—ignoring the fact that Austin followed the national trend of tearing police budgets to ribbons.
But those of us who understand how criminals operate, whether through research or purely common sense, know that the city is witnessing what could be normal in murder rates because the Council chose to ignore all warnings. There was history to be made. There were ideologies that needed backing. There were activists to be appeased.
And now there are bodies to be buried. There are losses to mourn.
Sources say that APD is sending patrols back into the parks, but with fewer and fewer officers, this means crime will simply move to another underserved area of the city.
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