Austin police conduct downtown initiative to curb violent, property crimes


by SHELTON GREEN / KVUE News and Photojournalist MATT OLSEN

Bio | Email | Follow: @SheltonG_KVUE

Posted on October 3, 2012 at 10:34 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 4 at 7:36 AM

AUSTIN -- Police are conducting what they call a “Public Order Initiative” in downtown Austin to target city and public ordinance violations and to curb violent and property crimes in the area.

Sources inside Austin’s Municipal Court and in the Travis County Jail told KVUE they saw three times more homeless people arrested this past weekend than on a normal weekend.

Jailers reported seeing about 300 homeless people coming through the system this weekend when they usually see about 90.

“We're hearing that there is definitely an increase in the focusing by police,” said Richard Troxell with House the Homeless.

“We've just heard things that last weekend in particular, there were a lot more arrests than usual,” said Jo Kathyrn Quinn, Executive Director at Caritas.

Some homeless advocates said they believe the initiative is all about moving the homeless out of downtown in time for Formula 1. 

Another homeless advocate believed the push is about cleaning up downtown for the Waller Creek Project.

An APD spokesperson who confirmed the initiative didn’t specify what prompted the operation.  She did say that it began Sept. 20 of this year and will last multiple weeks.

APD Chief Art Acevedo is expected to release more details about the ongoing initiative toward the end of the month.

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