AUSTIN (KXAN) — During an Austin City Council briefing on the Texas Department of Public Safety’s (DPS) patrols in Austin, Austin Police chief Joseph Chacon said the department is willing to shift its strategy regarding where DPS focuses its patrols.
“I think you will see some changes in the coming weeks,” he said. “You’ll probably see them in some areas you haven’t before.”
APD’s decides where to deploy troopers based on 911 call data for violent crimes. For the first time Tuesday, law enforcement disclosed the locations troopers are more heavily patrolling based on that data:
A new report shows violent crime is down 28% compared to the week before the partnership began this year.
But some people who live in the more heavily patrolled areas remain uneasy.
“I feel like I can’t make a tiny mistake without getting pulled over,” said Jessica – who lives off Montopolis Drive in the Riverside neighborhood. “Every day I come home from work, and I go to both of my jobs – and I see them there every single day. And they’re just sitting in the same spot waiting. I’ll see them pull somebody over and once they let them go, I’ll see them hit their lights and they hit somebody else.”
DPS’ primary goals in this initiative – called the Austin Violent Crime Task Force (AVCTF) – are to curb both violent crime and traffic deaths.
Austin continues to reach record high numbers for traffic deaths, so in addition to helping APD patrol major highways, troopers will now also monitor the following areas:
- RM 2222 and Loop 360
- South Congress and South First between 290 and Slaughter Lane
- West William Cannon and Slaughter Lane
- Along Southwest Parkway
According to a memo issued by the city manager’s office Tuesday, city and county leaders will work to compile a comprehensive data report on DPS’ actions that they will update regularly.
In addition to reducing violent crime, the initiative has also reduced the amount of 911 calls as well as the amount of time it takes officers to get to emergency calls, according to that same memo.
City Council will discuss this topic again May 22.
You can find a full breakdown of data related to DPS’ patrols in Austin here.