In August of last year, Austin, Texas voted to effectively “defund the police” by cutting up to $150 million, or 34%, from the police budget. Since then, the consequences for the city have been drastic, with the murder rate skyrocketing.
This should come as a surprise to nobody, and it shows just how ridiculous and dangerous the left’s goal of “defunding the police” is for Americans everywhere.
Fox News reported that by the end of July, Austin had already had the same number of homicides that occurred in the city in all of 2020. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) was quick to state the obvious: that this was a direct consequence of defending the police.
“This is what happens when you villainize law enforcement and defund police,” McCaul tweeted after the homicide stats were released in July. “Now more than ever, Austin police need extra support and resources to combat the surge of crime.”
This is what happens when you villainize law enforcement and defund police. Now more than ever, Austin police need extra support and resources to combat the surge of crime. https://t.co/mkTnP5AqVz
— Michael McCaul (@RepMcCaul) July 29, 2021
KVUE reported that last month, Austin reached 60 homicides for the year, the most in the 61 years that the city has kept records. Mackenzie Kelly, an Austin City Council member, said that the vote to defund the police last summer has had “disastrous” consequences for the city.
“A lot of what we’re seeing happening starting today is coming home to roost from that decision,” Kelly told Fox News. “And it’s disastrous.”
Staff shortages in the Austin Police Department have gotten so bad that it was recently announced that officers will no longer respond to calls for “non-emergencies” in the city. Instead, social workers will respond to “non-emergency” calls to make up for the lack of available officers. This did not sit well with Kelly, however.
“One of the biggest concerns I have is that prostitution is on that list,” she said. “We have victims of human trafficking happening, and they’re going to send a social worker and not a police officer? That’s absurd to me.”
Kelly went on to say that public safety is not being prioritized if civilians are being sent to respond to calls that are meant for the police.
“That’s what police officers are for. They’re trained to respond to those sorts of incidents, not a civilian,” she said. “I don’t see this ending well for anyone, especially the taxpaying citizens of the city of Austin.”
By the end of July, the Austin Police department had 150 vacant positions, an amount that interim Austin Police Chief Joseph Chacon described as a “crisis” level.
“I call it a crisis because it is a crisis,” Chacon said. “About 150 positions are vacant right now. That’s not good for our overall crime rate in Austin.”
“Murders are up 96% compared to this time last year,” lamented Cary Roberts of the Greater Austin Crime Commission.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) has also pointed out how dangerous defunding the police really is.
“We have seen the consequences of defunding and dismantling law enforcement in communities across the country,” said Abbott. “This puts residents in danger and invites crime into communities, and we can’t allow this in Texas.”
Despite the clear facts behind these numbers, crazed leftists are still standing by the idea of “defunding the police.”
“We don’t want to have an overfunded Austin Police Department,” said Kathy Mitchell, a member of a group called “Just Liberty.”
Austin is far from the only city in the U.S. that has seen a spike in murders over the past year. In fact, the United States as a whole recorded the largest annual increase in murders in 60 years in 2020, going up 30%, according to The Guardian.
This is what happens when a nation not only defunds the police but also demonizes them at every turn. Democrats across the country have been prioritizing criminals over law enforcement officers, which has only emboldened violent individuals who are out to take innocent lives.
If cities like Austin, Texas, actually want to protect their citizens and see their murder rates decrease, they need to reallocate funds to their police departments. They also need to stop demonizing their hard-working officers who put their lives on the line every day to protect their citizens and start giving them the respect they deserve.
Thankfully, some states have taken steps to prioritize public safety by giving back to their police officers. Last week, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp (R) and Georgia House Speaker David Ralston (R) announced that the state will offer one-time $1,000 bonuses to nearly 81,000 police officers. This $100 million initiative is being offered in addition to the $25 million initiative that Ralston proposed over the summer for a smaller group of police officers.
Online Athens reported that Kemp and Ralston said in a press conference that police have been through horrifying hardships over the past year thanks to the “defund the police” movement.
“We know it’s never been harder to wear a badge,” said Ralston. “We want to ensure our officers know we appreciate their service and sacrifice.”
God bless Georgia for prioritizing its police officers, and therefore prioritizing the safety of its citizens. More cities and states across the country need to do the same.