Austin Police Department updates results of Violent Crimes Initiative during SXSW

The Austin Police Department held a press conference on Thursday to update the results regarding the Violent Crimes Initiative targeting gun crime and human trafficking.

APD launched a proactive operation that ran March 11-19 to combat violent crimes during SXSW.

"During this operation, the Austin Police Department seized 61 firearms, and made 130 arrests," APD Assistant Chief Jerry Bauzon said during the press conference. "We confiscated 250 pounds of marijuana and numerous other narcotics."

Several arrests made were connected to human trafficking. Bauzon said that APD put a focus on this issue because anytime there is a large scale event, human trafficking and child exploitation is a concern.

Gun crime was another main concern for similar reasons, and Bauzon noted that Austin Police used an aggressive and investigative approach to locate and seize unlawful handguns.

"I just want to acknowledge how proud I am of our officers and the work that they did and continue to do on a daily basis to keep our community safe. From a public safety standpoint, South by Southwest 2022 was a success," Bauzon said. "While there were two shootings over the entire 10-day festival, we will never know how many violent incidents were prevented from the seizure of these 61 firearms." 

One of the two shootings that occurred during SXSW left four people injured. Bauzon said that this shooting happened during an altercation between two groups of people.

APD also seized over 34 grams of crack cocaine in the downtown area during the festival. 

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