‘Operation Undaunted’ to address rise in murder, violent crime in Austin

Operation Undaunted to fight the surge in murder and violent crime in Austin

Local, state and federal agencies are working together to tackle the rise in murder and violent crime in Austin.

Justice Department officials said the Austin murders were up 55 percent year over year due to a number of factors, including city politics.

“If you disappoint the police, if you loosen the enforcement of the existing criminal law. If you release repeat offenders and violent criminals onto our streets, that is exactly what you can expect,” said US attorney Gregg Sofer.

“It is appropriate to consider the stress that our entire society, not just our city, has faced with all of these COVID restrictions. We have a lot of people out of work, children who have been out of school for a while,” said Brian , Austin Manley Police Chief.

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The DOJ announces a new initiative to fight violent crime in Austin

United States attorney Gregg N. Sofer chaired the press conference and was accompanied by dozens of law enforcement officers at the federal, state, and local levels.

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Local, state and federal agencies are joining forces in an operation they call Operation Undaunted.

“Despite the challenges posed by the coronavirus and the unfair and widespread defamation of the law enforcement community, we remain unabashed in our commitment to protecting the residents of central Texas and throughout the western district of Texas,” said Sofer.

“Operation Undaunted is a four-step approach. The first step is to make greater use of the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network,” said Sofer.

RELATED: Violent crimes are rising in Texas’s largest cities, including Austin, according to DPS report

“NIBIN is an investigative tool that compares ballistic evidence from crime scenes and recovered firearms to uncover links between criminals and violent crime. Violent drug traffickers, armed robbers and gang members who fire their weapons on our streets often do so more than once.” said Sofer.

The second pillar is aimed at repeat offenders. “Far too often criminals get five, six, seven and sometimes even more chances. The revolving door of the criminal justice system allows these criminals to get back on the streets,” Sofer said.

The third and fourth pillars aim to aggressively prosecute escalated robberies and work with the military to investigate and prosecute violent crimes at bases.

The Austin Mayor plans to begin teaching police cadets this spring

The mayor and councilors said they left the option of a cadet class or two on the table in 2021, as long as the training academy’s materials were revised and approved before classes began.

“We are going to be a big city with big city problems. We don’t want to have big city problems where the homicide rate gets out of hand,” Sofer said.

Manley said the council’s decision to cut the funding only exacerbated the problem of dealing with rising crime.

RELATED: Austin City Council cuts millions of dollars from APD budget and approves budget for fiscal year

“With the cancellation of new cadet classes, it means we can’t get new officers on the streets for at least 12 months. If we continue with this wear and tear of about 12 officers a month, we’ll lose about 150 more officers.” As a chief of police, this is very worrying as I believe one of the greatest deterrents against crime is a visible police presence, “said Manley.

As of December 18, the number of murders in Austin will be 47. According to Sofer, officials want to address the problem now before the number climbs into three digits as central Texas grows.

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