AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Police Department is reporting violent crimes are up 17 percent across the city as of June compared to the same time last year. This weekend, officers responded to a deadly shooting in the heart of the city’s downtown entertainment district street which leaves people asking the question: How can officers keep Austin safe?
Austin police say they already have officers on the streets, and can rely on their Real Time Crime Center which has officers monitoring 41 cameras around the city, 36 of which are in the downtown area.
“The officers here that are monitoring the cameras are able to notice suspicious behavior on the street and then they can call the downtown officers to let them know what’s going on,” says Lt. Matthew Greer.
Officers at the helm of the cameras are able to zoom into areas where there are potential disturbances, something that is typically done in situations like Saturday nights’ shooting.
“We’re getting them the resources they need, first of all, and we’re also using our cameras downtown to identify witnesses, suspects and if we can see any evidence on the scene,” continues Greer.
“The short version is Austin is a growing city and we’ve got population gain every day, anywhere from 120-150 people, depending on what study you need,” Austin Police Chief of Staff Brian Manley says. “With an increase population comes an increased demand for services from all city departments and the police department is just like all the others.”
Police say more officers won’t only help with the Sixth Street crowd control, but will help keep everyone across the city safer.
“It’s not just active shooters we’re talking about. We need people for traffic enforcement, we need people for community engagement, which is most important,” Manley says.