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Austin City Council votes to add more security cameras on Sixth Street

The resolution is the latest in a series of steps the council has taken to make the Sixth Street area safer following last year's mass shooting.

AUSTIN, Texas — The Austin City Council is considering another step to try to make the Sixth Street Historic District safer.

On Tuesday, the council considered a resolution sponsored by Councilmembers Kathie Tovo (District 9), Mackenzie Kelly (District 6), Pio Renteria (District 3) and Mayor Steve Adler. The item was then discussed again on Thursday, where it was approved on consent.

The resolution calls for adding 13 High Activity Location Observation (HALO) cameras to the Sixth Street area. It also calls for purchasing handheld metal detector wands for certain businesses in the Sixth and Rainey street districts, depending on the results of a survey of bar operators in those areas.

The resolution would direct the city manager to expedite the purchase of the cameras and provide an estimated timeline for purchase and installation by June 15. It would also direct the city manager to return to council by July 1 with recommendations for other technology that would expand or enhance the City's existing HALO system.

The resolution would also direct the city manager to survey bar operators in the area to gauge their interest in the handheld metal detector wands and report back to the council with those findings and a cost estimate no later than July 15.

The resolution is the latest in a series of safety-related action items that have been brought before the council as part of the "Safer Sixth Street" initiative.

"The overall intent is to really use every strategy we can to try to reduce gun violence on Sixth, as we are seeking to across our community. But we have multiple acts of gun violence on Sixth Street in the last year, certainly," said Tovo.

Tovo said this is the third part of the "Safer Sixth Street" resolution she hopes to pass. She said two other parts already passed, which include working with business owners to add lighting to their property, especially in alleys, and encouraging bar owners to create written safety plans and train door staff.  

Last month, Austin Police Chief Joseph Chacon told council in a memo that a staging area has been created for first responders in the Sixth Street area as part of the initiative. The memo also stated that Austin-Travis County EMS (ATCEMS) was working to get new equipment to help provide patient care quickly.

In March, the council passed a series of actions to improve safety in the Sixth Street area, including approving a lighting study and creating an entertainment permit for businesses open after midnight.

Douglas Kantor, a 25-year-old visitor to Austin, was killed during a mass shooting in June 2021 on Sixth Street. Fourteen others were injured.

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