Since the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police last May, many communities have pushed to reduce the budgets for local police departments amid concerns about police brutality. However, San Antonio is not one of them.
An $8 million budget increase
In mid-September, the San Antonio City Council granted the city police department a $8 million budget increase. The increase comes as the city faces about $120 million in revenue cuts because of the pandemic.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott applauded San Antonio leaders’ decision. In a tweet, he stated that having well-trained police officers is essential for having a safe community. Abbott previously had warned he would push the legislature this fall to freeze property tax revenue for cities that cut police budgets. So far, Austin has been the Texas largest city to cut police funding: by one-third for 2021.
Two council members, Manny Peláez and Shirley Gonzales, voted for the San Antonio police budget increase because that’s what constituents have demanded in the past.
Yet activists concerned about several national incidents of police brutality in the last few years weren’t satisfied. They wanted to funnel more money toward social services.
San Antonio’s crime rate
San Antonio did experience an uptake in violent crime in 2019. The total number of homicides, rape, robberies and aggravated assaults went from 9,647 in 2018 to 11,046 in 2019. Simple assaults jumped from 21,6551 to 22,933.
It will be interesting to see how the movement to defund police departments impacts other Texas communities and their crime rates.