In a press release, the APD said that the death of Mark Everett Guard III in June has now been classified as a homicide which is the 75th in the city compared to the 48 homicides in 2020.
Austin Texas downtown cityscape skyline aerial view
In September, the city broke its homicide record after the 60th resident was killed, which was more than the city had seen in the six decades that the police department has been keeping track.
The grim milestone comes after a record-shattering surge in officers leaving the force following the Austin City Council’s vote to strip funding from the police department in the wake of the George Floyd riots during the summer of 2020.
In January 2021, PJ Media reported that 20 officers retired from APD and eight resigned, for a total of 28 departures. In February, five more officers resigned and six retired which totaled 11 more departures. In March, 24 more officers left and 20 of them left via retirement. Of the other four, three retired and one was terminated.
Austin, Texas (iStock )
“The City of Austin’s homicide rate continues to rise and now is at an all time high,” Austin Council Member Mackenzie Kelly told Fox News about the rise in crime. “There are increased response times to high priority calls across our city. The City of Austin needs to act now to make public safety a priority in Austin.”
In November, Austin residents will vote on Prop A which aims to restore much of the lost funding and crime-fighting units to the police department.
“Austin has never had more than 59 murders in one calendar year and we are at 75 with two months left, likely doubling last year’s modern day record,” Save Austin Now co-founder Matt Mackowiak told Fox News. “Defund the police has left us with 300 fewer police officers than last year at a time when violent crime is rising. It’s been an epic disaster for our city and on Nov. 2nd, voters can fix this mess by passing Prop A and directly addressing this profound staffing crisis.”
The Austin Police Department has a unit dedicated to helping the mental and emotional health of police officers. (Hunter Davis)
The Austin Police Department’s monthly report from September, obtained by Fox News, shows that other crimes have spiked in the city since 2020.
In addition to murders being up 88% from last year, kidnappings are up 6%, sexual assaults with an object are up 25%, and aggravated assaults are up 8%.
Crimes against property are also on the rise with arson rising 38% and purse snatching rising 25%.
“Homicides are one of the many violent crimes that have gone up this year and it’s just one more reason we need to refund the police department and hire more police officers so we can let police have enough people to answer the priority and emergency calls,” Austin Police Association President Ken Casady told Fox News. “It’s one more example of needing a bigger police force with a city that’s growing out of control with other people moving here from the rest of the country.”
“It’s very hard to be proactive when you don’t even have enough officers to answer 911 calls,” Cassady added, explaining that there is a direct correlation between defunding the police and the rise in various crimes.
Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas (CLEAT) Executive Director Charley Wilkison questioned Mayor Steve Adler’s priorities in a statement to Fox News: “Seventy-five murders in 10 months and Austin’s city leaders are still reimagining policing? The Steve Adler/George Soros team are out campaigning against increasing staffing and officer training. It’s an embarrassment.”
For historical comparison, Austin’s 2021 homicide total to date eclipses 2018 and 2019’s totals combined.