Chief Chacon talks about APD's quarterly report, response times

Austin Police Chief Joseph Chacon spoke at the Public Safety Commission to break down APD's quarterly report.

"Violent crimes are down 5% for the year and 6% from this time last year. Talking about our crimes against property, again, we're down 9%," said Chief Chacon.

Chief Chacon says most crime is down in the city except for robberies and homicides. Robberies are up by 12%. Homicides in Austin are up to 77 for the year so far, which is the most the city has seen in years.

"Which is certainly very troubling. We're not seeing any trends or patterns in that necessarily. Our violent crime units continue to work collaboratively to try to affect our violent crime working across the different divisions including robbery, homicide, aggravated assault. What we are trying to do is put a collective effort towards lowering this and other types of violent crime," said Chief Chacon.

When it comes to police response time, Austin police set a goal of eight minutes and 24 seconds. Over the course of the 2021 fiscal year, APD never hit or went below that time. 

Chief Chacon says part of that could be traced back to the shortage of officers. "I've been talking about staffing issues and fewer officers that are out there on patrol, so this is not, to me, not terribly surprising," he said.

Currently, Austin Police has 191 officer vacancies at the department that have been taking a toll on response time. To try to fix that, many officers have been working overtime.

"Our budgeted overtime was pretty close to $3.5 million while our actual overtime expenses were close to $11 million. That is not entirely surprising for us, just based on [the fact that] we did have a much smaller overtime budget and our regular overtime budget was closer to that $11 million," he said.

Chief Chacon says the next few cadet classes are critical for the department. "It's so critical and such a high priority for me to get our classes going the right way and then get them going as aggressively and kind of efficiently as we can," said Chief Chacon.

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