I was sitting in the doctor’s office yesterday. On the waiting room TV was the local Spectrum News talking about Austin’s uptick in violent crime.
- Murder — same as last year
- Rape – up 4.6%
- Robbery – up 37.3%
- Aggravated Assault – down 12%
- Total violent crime – up 1.7%
They also went back 5 years and looked at the total violent crime index:
- 2017 – 4414
- 2016 – 4288
- 2015 – 3536
- 2014 – 3608
- 2013 – 3135
That’s pretty much a steady increase in violent crime in Austin.
The TV was on in the background. I was sitting and checking email on my phone, and a notice from NextDoor came in, with someone posting this article on how over the last 7 years APD response calls are significantly slower:
The Austin Police Department is releasing new numbers comparing response times between 2011 and 2017. In 2017, response times for P0 and P1 priority calls are nearly a minute and a half slower.
For P2 priority calls, officers responded about four minutes behind times in 2011. As for P3 priority calls, or those that are the least urgent, police reached callers more than sixteen minutes later.
Michael R. Levy, Former Chair of the Austin Public Safety Commission says he’s been watching public safety in Austin since 1976 and it’s never been this bad.
When you need the police, it’s taking them even longer to get to you. A lot of bad stuff can happen in a minute and a half.
What made seeing these two reports at the same time interesting was this quote from Mayor Steve Adler:
But he says doesn’t believe Austin residents are at an increased danger. “I certainly don’t think the public should just be looking at response times because Austin as we know is one of the top 4 safest cities in the country when it concerns violent crime. Property crimes are at a 20 year low.”
Top 4 safest cities in the country when it comes to violent crime.
Mr. Mayor, did you not see your own police chief’s latest monthly report on violent crime? I guess not.
Take this data however you want, residents of Austin.
Me? I suspect it’s going to get worse. Austin’s population continues to grow rapidly. It’s a tough time to be a cop, and fewer people want to get into the profession. And you can also see from Mayor Adler’s comments that there’s a bunch of waffling regarding budget. Not a recipe for success.
Folks: Austin’s still a nice city. But the hard reality is, things are getting worse. And you just cannot count on the police to be there – immediately or in a reasonably timely manner – to protect you.
Updated: Paul Martin discusses this article and topic in episode 25 (Feb. 25, 2018) of The Situation: