AUSTIN (KXAN) — Last weekend a business at the SFC Farmers’ Market announced they would be leaving due to concerns of the increasing number of homeless people in the area.
In a Facebook post, SFC wrote, “We acknowledge that Downtown Austin has seen an increase in homelessness as our city has grown, and this can be visible in a location such as ours. We have safety protocols in place and all our staff and crew are trained on how to handle a crisis situation should it occur.”
Saturday morning Mayor Steve Adler attended the market and told KXAN he spoke to the owner of the leaving business, The Round Rock Honey Company, to get a better idea of their concerns.
“He described three [incidents] to me, one of which occurred three years ago. One of which occurred at a coffee shop some place distant from here about a year or so ago, and the most recent incident he described where one of his employees was aggressively confronted,” said Adler.
Adler explained that the city has ordinances in place to prevent similar types of incidents from happening.
“We have an ordinance in the city against aggressively confronting and I expect our police department to enforce that ordinance because it against the law in Austin to aggressively confront someone,” said Adler.
The Round Rock Honey Company made a Facebook post about their departure stating “unpredictable and unsafe behavior by vagrants and mentally ill individuals at the market has created an unsafe environment for our workers.”
Their post and departure came after a stabbing at Republic Square.
Mayor Adler said much of the fear surrounding increased crime in the city comes from the spread of incorrect information.
“I think a lot of what we are dealing with right now is a lot of misinformation. The fact is that Austin is one of the four safest cities in the country,” said Adler. “There is no link our police chief draws between the ordinances that we passed and any increase in crime. You are much more likely to be a victim of crime if you are experiencing homelessness than you are to perpetuate it.”
Adler says his office has received no reports like the Round Rock Honey Company’s from any of the markets’ other vendors.