Defunding the police is backfiring big time for the city and its residents.
Left-leaning Austin, Texas has quite the problem with street takeovers, among other crimes. Unsurprisingly, this issue really exploded after a good chunk of funding was yanked in 2020 amidst all the anti-police protests that swept Blue America. Now, some of the same residents who jumped on the bandwagon of ACAB are screeching about the lawlessness of hundreds of kids taking over city intersections to watch muscle cars perform smokey burnouts and donuts at odd hours.
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Residents have complained that it takes police too long to clear these illegal takeovers, which shut down otherwise busy intersections and makes it difficult if not impossible for people to reach where they’re going. Calling 911 results in long wait times and police have to gather dozens of units to clear the larger gatherings, requiring even more time. It’s a problem that seems to only be snowballing, thanks in large part to the city and many residents not wanting to truly back the police while simultaneously demanding swift action.
One of the more recent big street takeovers was held on February 18, with authorities calling it a “city-wide street takeover event.” Ultimately, troopers from the Texas Department of Public Safety broke it up, with suspects in a Dodge Charger and Chevy Camaro leading them on a chase at speeds of 150-plus mph. The Charger suspect got away after the two split up, however the Camaro driver was found hiding in a service station bathroom.
That takeover event was so bad it triggered an Austin police press conference where the issue of takeovers or sideshows plaguing the capital city was addressed. While residents complained the crowd at the takeover was violent, shooting off fireworks and threatening anyone who tried to intervene, a spokesman for the police said officers were also treated with hostility and aggression.
Even after disbursing the crowd, other street takeover events popped up in different parts of Austin that night. The people who participate in this illegal activity don’t respect the law or law enforcement at all. We’ve seen many fatal incidents at them, while police around the country have noted the events are magnets for human trafficking, drug distribution, and other illegal activities.
Around the same time as the big press conference, police officers in the department told Fox News that negotiation breakdown between the city and police on a new contract could mean a wave of retirements. In other words, if Austin residents think things have been bad in the past two years, they could get much worse.
Since that press conference, police identified and charged 17 more suspects connected to the notorious street takeover on February 18. The likelihood they’ll receive a slap on the wrist by prosecutors in Austin is high, meaning the consequences for engaging in illegal activity are low, incentivizing more street takeovers. Hopefully that won’t be the case here, but past experience has taught us it likely will be.
According to the Fox News report, the Austin City Council has opted to pursue a shorter contract the police union’s board already rejected. That seems like an obvious insult and one that reportedly is being driven by anti-police groups which hold immense sway in the city.
The fear is after dozens of officers retire, replacing them won’t be possible. Perhaps then the social workers can kindly ask armed street takeover participants to be respectful and open up intersections so people can go places freely. In other words, the street takeover problem, along with other crimes in Austin, could get worse.
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