Plan to curb downtown violence after two attacked

Plan to curb downtown violence after two attacked

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Shocking video captures two men being attacked by six others in Downtown Austin.
The video's gone viral and it's upset a lot of people.

Businesses and employees who work in the area say it's something that happens all too often.
They want to make sure it doesn't go "unnoticed" anymore.

Austin Police say that's why they want to make some big changes downtown
   
A video posted to LiveLeak shows an argument near 6th street and I35 that escalates quickly.
You hear the guy in a teal shirt yell, "are you ready?" Then he starts throwing punches, first to the guy in the plaid and then to the guy in the green shirt.

Both who end up knocked to the ground and kicked repeatedly. After the video circulated over social media, it caught the attention of police. But many viewers asked why officers didn't respond that night.

"We've got a tremendous proliferation of bars, we've got a bunch of drunks who come out at bar closing time. I work patrol on a regular basis and my cops are going from fight to fight to fight to fight. EMS is going crazy, especially Thursday through Saturday," says Chief Art Acevedo, Austin Police Department.

Chief Art Acevedo says Austin has one of the safest downtown's but it doesn't come without its challenges.

That's why they have more plans in the works to curb the violence.

"We continue to build on our public safety camera system downtown. We have some new bodies, some new positions, that the city council allocated this year. 47 new positions and 22 of those are actually going to go to the Downtown Area Command as soon as they are hired, trained and out on the streets," says Chief Art Acevedo, Austin Police Department.

With so many businesses downtown and so many people working in this area, Austin Police say they're trying to address their concerns. Chris Crowley works as security for Red 7.

He took his frustration to social media saying he doesn't want people being assaulted anymore.

"Every weekend night that I work, I park on the east side because it's free and walk through those parking lots and underneath the highway. I've been followed to my car multiple times. My brother was stabbed on that bridge right across from the police station twice on New Year's Eve," says Chris Crowley, works downtown.

Many people who work in the area are scared for their safety as they become a target at night.
"A lot of people on the street have a lot of cash on them. If they're walking around at three, four, five o'clock in the morning and they seem sober, then they probably have one-hundred, two-hundred, three-hundred dollars on them," says Chris Crowley, works downtown.

"I would prefer to say I've never had an experience down here but I have. I was just saying to someone inside that I've had two cars smashed down here and I was just parked down the street," says Michael Niland, works downtown.

In response to the video and the concerns, Acevedo says he will be setting up a town hall meeting within the next two weeks just for them.
Investigators are trying to get a hold of the video so they can take some stills of the suspects and provide them to the public as early as next week.

These type of crimes are what have put Downtown Austin in a bad light, but numbers show that criminal activity is at the lowest level in six years. This dramatic decrease comes after law enforcement reported a 12-year high just the year before.

Aggravated assaults in Downtown Austin are down 42-percent.
Individual robberies are down 18-percent.

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