Austin named third safest big city in U.S. - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Austin named third safest big city in U.S.

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Despite lingering concerns about violence downtown, new numbers show positive signs for crime in Austin.

Chief Art Acevedo released the crime statistics from 2011 on Tuesday.

Austin has improved from the fifth safest big city in the U.S. in 2010 to the third safest big city in 2011. Austin was also named the safest city in the state of Texas.

In 2010, violent crimes were down by 5.8 percent. In 2011, violent crimes were down 8.4 percent. But there was a spike in downtown crime. Violent crime increased downtown by 16.7 percent.

"We will bring resources to where the crime is happening. We will roll out the unwelcome mat to where the crime is happening. And I want to reiterate that our public order initiative has nothing to do with F1, has nothing to do with an anti- homelessness campaign, has everything to do with law and order," said Acevedo.

That law and order Chief Acevedo is talking about is APD's Public Order Initiative which started on September 20. The purpose of the initiative is to reduce violent crime downtown. APD has increased the number of officers downtown, especially near the 6th Street Entertainment District.

Critics claim that the point of the initiative is to target the homeless but Chief Acevedo says that isn't true.

APD says the initiative will last until it is no longer needed.

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