Residents support increased police enforcement downtown


Downtown residents Monday told the Austin Public Safety Commission they support a controversial new police initiative that allows officers to ticket or arrest offenders without giving them prior warning.

They also voiced concern about rising crime in their neighborhood and urged police officers to increase their operations in the area.

The Public Order Initiative, which began on Sept. 20, has generated criticism from community leaders and homeless advocates who say the tactics have unfairly come down on a vulnerable transient and homeless population.

The Austin Police Department has used the zero tolerance policy to crack down on felony and misdemeanor violators within the entertainment district, or what authorities refer to as the George sector, which runs east from Lamar Boulevard to Chicon Street and is bordered by 12th Street to the north and Lady Bird Lake to the south.

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