Austin police ask people to call the non-emergency number instead of 911 if they get robbed

The police department had to make this request because there are not enough officers to fight rising crime.

The Austin Police Department posted on X (formerly Twitter) asking people to call 311 — instead of 911 — if they are robbed around ATMs.

311 is a number that is usually used to make non-emergency calls.

The request comes at a time when local police are facing a serious crisis: rising crime and a shortage of officers. Austin has experienced a 77% increase in car thefts, a 30% increase in murders and an 18% increase in aggravated assaults (compared to 2020).

911 calls on hold and police chief's resignation

President of the Austin Police Association, Thomas Villarreal, warned in August that situation was getting worse. Defunding of the police has been problematic, since there are not enough officers to answer emergency calls:

We are a growing city, a city that should be up around 2,000 officers and growing right now. We're moving in the wrong direction. There's less and less and less resources to go out and do the job. I've got detectives who are pulled away from their caseload to just help answer 911 calls because we just don't have the resources to adequately police the city.

Former Austin Police Chief Joseph Chacon was another officer who in August — amid the crime crisis and staffing shortages — decided to step down.

I am announcing my retirement as chief of the Austin Police Department with a heavy heart. I've come to this decision after a lot of thought. It has been an honor to serve this department and this wonderful community, and I know I'm leaving you in good hands.

Crime unleashed

In early 2023, Austin was ranked 15th for most homicides, according to a WalletHub study reviewed by Daily Mail.

The media outlet pointed out how crime has been out of control ever since the police lost funding after the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests.

The $150 million cut represented one-third of the police force's budget, by far the largest proportion of any U.S. city to cut funding after the BLM riots.