Commissioners said they would like to know how much the departments are
reimbursed during special events, arguing that businesses that financially
benefit from SXSW should have to pay for police overtime, not tax payers.
The commission also questioned the practice of pulling resources to downtown
during large events.
"I certainly don't want to see the safety or resources of response in my
neighborhood go down," added Rossmo.
... Commissioners also learned about some of the issues officers are facing
when it comes to downtown crime. Officers say with the rapid growth, crime is
also growing. Downtown is now home to more than 10,600 residents. Another 2,000 to 5,000 homeless also stay downtown. While violent crime, such as murders and assaults are down, property crime is up.
"Currently we're the second safest city in regards to violent crime,
however when it comes to property crime it's a different story. And we regularly
rank toward the bottom of that list," explained Manley.
That property crime mainly consists of car and apartment break-ins. Manley
says people need to be vigilant by locking their doors and hiding items left in
their cars. The department is working on a public education campaign
Staffing within APD is also a problem. The Downtown area is allocated 81
officers, but right now there are only 70. That roughly 12 percent vacancy is
felt not only downtown, but across the department. *
*FYIRegion II which serves North Austin is carrying 20% vacancy for Adam sector, and 17% vacancy for Edward sector.