Safety group calls for more po­lice on Drag

SafeHorns founder sees some progress, but says ‘stu­dents de­serve bet­ter.’

Austin American-Statesman - - METRO & STATE - By Katie Hall khall@states­man.com

The founder of a Univer­sity of Texas safety or­ga­ni­za­tion told a city com­mis­sion Mon­day that the group has had some suc­cesses but is still strug­gling to get the sup­port it needs to make the Drag safer.

The or­ga­ni­za­tion, SafeHorns, was founded last year af­ter UT fresh­man Haruka Weiser was killed on cam­pus, and it has fo­cused much of its at­ten­tion on re­duc­ing crime on the stretch of Guadalupe Street along UT known as the Drag.

When asked if the Drag is safer now com­pared with a year ago, SafeHorns founder Joell McNew said crime comes and goes in waves based on po­lice pres­ence: When po­lice of­fi­cers are there, crime is not as fre­quent, and when they’re not, crime is fre­quent.

“UT stu­dents de­serve bet­ter,” McNew told the Austin Pub­lic Safety Com­mis­sion on Mon­day. “They de­serve what other neigh­bor­hoods have.”

SafeHorns wants to see a con­stant, in­creased po­lice pres­ence on the Drag, McNew said, and it is call­ing for the city to in­vest in plac­ing more of­fi­cers in the area.

Austin po­lice spokes­woman Anna Sa­bana said Austin po­lice are as­signed to the Drag area.

“There have been times when we had ad­di­tional re­sources in the area for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons, but the crime is im­pacted very lit­tle,” Sa­bana said.

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