AUSTIN (KXAN) — Since the Texas Department of Public Safety started patrolling in Austin, there have been “significant decreases in violent crime, response times, and calls for service,” according to the Austin Police Department.
Chief Joseph Chacon said he is in constant communication with DPS Regional Director Vincent Luciano about the partnership.
DPS officers are assisting with traffic enforcement and deploying to areas with the highest number of 911 calls about violent crime, according to the city memo about the partnership.
The memo states there has been an overall 25% decrease in violent crime since the initiative began – and a 58% decrease in violent crime in the high-violent-crime areas DPS was specifically deployed to.
“I think it’s important to remember that we are not looking at specific areas of town based on what demographics in that town look like, but rather where are the calls for emergency assistance coming in,” said Chacon. “Over time, what I expect to happen is you will see DPS actually move. As we displace crime that happens in certain parts of town to other parts of town, well then we’ll move, and we’re always going to let the data guide us.”
See the data below regarding 911 calls and response times:
- Calls for emergency assistance dropped by 27 percent in these areas and 15 percent citywide.
- Urgent calls for assistance decreased by 28 percent in these areas and 17 percent citywide.
- Additionally, APD average response times to calls for emergency assistance in these areas, previously as high as 9 minutes and 30 seconds, was reduced by almost 2 minutes in some areas.
- APD average response times to urgent calls for assistance in these areas, previously as high as 19 minutes and 11 seconds, was reduced by over 7 minutes in some areas.
- Citywide APD average response times to calls for emergency assistance was reduced by 23 seconds, and average response times to urgent calls for assistance were reduced by 52 seconds.
“Deploying DPS to specific areas of the city where calls for assistance involving violence are highest is currently proving successful,” Chacon said in the memo. “APD will continue to track these numbers and anticipate a continued trend of decreasing violent crime rates, though numbers may vary week-to-week.”
A traffic analysis revealed U.S. 183, MoPac and I-35 near downtown as major roadways where speeding, reckless driving, DWI and deadly crashes were the most prevalent. APD has not been able to proactively patrol those areas like it used to, so troopers are focused in on these highways to monitor traffic enforcement.
You can see the full Friday morning media briefing on this topic below.
Chief Chacon said DPS is focused on interventions and warnings with these traffic stops, and troopers have written tickets in about 25% of these cases.
“We live here, APD, we live in Austin” said Chief Chacon. “And this is our community. And our community has let us know over time the way they want to see police services delivered. I’ve shared that with DPS leadership, and DPS leadership has made a commitment that to the greatest degree possible, they’re going to try and stay within that framework.”