AUSTIN (KXAN) - Following a violent weekend on Sixth Street, Austin police are working out the final details on a new plan to fight downtown crime.
Austin police met to talk about crime stats, patterns and trends emerging on Tuesday.
A game plan was discussed to pull officers from other parts of the city and stick them downtown -- both in uniform and undercover. The "power shift" will last eight weekends in a row and run between midnight and 5 a.m. when the majority of violent crimes are happening.
"All in all, it's when the people are intoxicated," said Comm. John Romoser. "It's after bar closing and everybody is getting out on the streets heading back to their cars."
According to the Austin Police Department, there have been 17 more violent crimes so far this year compared to this time last year.
"Though it's up, it's not a horrendous amount when you break it down over the months. Year-to-date that means there are three more incidents per month compared to last year," said Romoser.
Police have also noticed another trend. Each year violent crime goes up like clockwork in August and September when people are out enjoying their last few weeks of summer, and thousands of college kids come back to town.
But those who've worked on Sixth Street for years believe there's more to the problem.
"The most crime that I see always has to do with homeless people," said Ashley Avey, who works at Smoking Caterpillar.
APD officials said their crime analysts have been crunching the numbers and 38 percent of the violent crimes that have occurred downtown so far this year have involved the homeless -- either as the victim or the suspect.
"Whenever they do finally make arrests and send people to jail I see those same people get out and come right back down here. You know, it's really frustrating," said Avey.
Tuesday night, there were half a dozen Austin police officers clearing a crowd of homeless people off the corner of Sixth and Neches streets. Several officers on bicycles were patrolling the sidewalks throughout the evening.
Police say they would like to start the beefed up weekend patrols at the end of next week.
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