AUSTIN, Texas - In an effort to combat a rise in violent crime, the Austin Police Department (APD) has launched a Violence Intervention Program aimed at preventing gun crime. The goal of the program is to improve the safety of the Austin community through a series of proactive measures.
The Violence Intervention Program launches immediately and will last through August 31, 2021. APD is working with prosecutorial liaisons at the District and County Attorney’s Offices to increase the visibility, thoroughness, and prosecution of violent offenses.
The program is a collaboration of APD’s Organized and Violent Crimes Divisions, the Travis County District Attorney’s Office, and state and federal partner organizations.
"We are intentionally focusing our combined efforts on cases that are violent in nature, and this plan will work well to fight back against criminals who would do harm to Austin residents," said Interim Police Chief Joseph Chacon in a news release.
WHAT WILL VIOLENCE INTERVENTION PROGRAM DO?
APD says it will review cases and refer any of those cases suitable for the program, to the appropriate partner agencies for prosecution and investigation. Crime analysis will be conducted to continually track violent gun crime trends, and apply the data to inform and direct overall efforts.
APD’s Major Crimes Suppression Unit, Firearms Unit, Mid-Level Narcotics Unit, Robbery, Aggravated Assault Unit, and Homicide will collaborate with federal partners, including the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Task Force members, to investigate persons actively engaged in ongoing violent crime in the city involving a firearm and to increase the number of federal referrals for offenses. The intention of this joint effort is to increase seizures of illegally-possessed firearms through proactive efforts.
APD will work with each federal partner agency to increase the number of federal referrals for firearm offenses. Use of the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) system will help to further gun crime investigations. The NIBIN system is the only national network that allows for the capture and comparison of ballistic evidence to aid in solving and preventing violent crimes involving firearms. The intention of this joint effort is to increase seizures of illegally-possessed firearms through proactive efforts.
APD says its partnership with the US Attorney’s Office, and the Travis County District and County Attorney’s Offices will ensure that prosecutions of crimes of violence receive the attention and resources they need.