Austin Grows Bigger, Murder Rate Does Not. Huh!

The numbers don’t back up Save Austin Now’s fearmongering campaign


The Republican-led Save Austin Now campaign, a front for the Austin Police Association, is running out of time in its petition drive to force a budget-busting mandate to hire hundreds of new cops onto the November ballot. So the Fear-o-Meter is cranked up to 11, as SAN simply states as fact that Austin is in crime-wracked chaos, which gets repeated over and over by reporters who should know better. The Chronicle would instead like to share some facts to prepare you for a potential election. Let's start with something simple: the actual homicide rate since 1990, as reported to the FBI by local law enforcement. (We're not sure about the outliers in 1995-96, but this is what the federal data shows.) See for yourself: The city has doubled in size since 1990, and the homicide rate has halved. (There were 46 murders in 1990 and 45 in 2020.) Yet "SAN 2.0" would, if voters go for it, link the size of Austin's police force to its population, not to its crime rate.

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