With several months left of 2021, the number of homicides in Austin, Texas, has already matched the number from 2020, the Austin-American Statesman reported.
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) blamed the “defund the police” movement for rising homicides in the city, Fox News reported.
“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,” he said in a tweet on Thursday.
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
Forty-eight people have already been killed in Austin, which is the same number of homicides as in all of 2020. Austin police Lt. Brett Bailey, who serves in the homicide and aggravated assault unit, “previously told the American-Statesman he doesn’t expect the numbers to improve anytime soon, with August and early September typically being the most violent months of the year.”
Last year, the entire Austin City Council voted to cut $150 million from the city’s police department budget, Breitbart News previously reported. The council also eliminated 150 officer positions that were already vacant. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) slammed the city council’s decision at the time.
“Some cities are more focused on political agendas than public safety,” Abbott said in a written statement. “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.”
According to the American-Statesman, which cited Austin Police Department data, Austin has not seen such a high number of killings since the 1990s. In 1985, there were 52 homicides in Austin, but the number has stayed below that for more than two decades.
Austin is not the only big city to see an increase in violent crime this year. According to a Thursday update to the Council on Criminal Justice’s (CCJ) pandemic crime report, murder has increased 16 percent across major U.S. cities during the first half of 2021 when compared to the same period in 2020, and by 42 percent when compared to 2019, Breitbart News reported.
The murder rate “rose sharply,” in May 2020, exceeding the previous seasonal peak, immediately after George Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020 — an event that sparked nationwide protests and riots.
“A precipitous rise in homicide in the late spring of 2020 coincided with the emergence of mass protests after George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis, although the connection, if any, between the social unrest and heightened violence remains uncertain,” researchers wrote in the report’s conclusion.