Will The Police Even Answer The Phone?: ‘Defund’ Investigation Finds Austin Citizens In Distress

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Gage Klipper Commentary & Analysis Writer
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With crime out of control, American cities are eroding. This was no accident — it was a choice made by progressive politicians who want to abandon law and order in pursuit of a utopian dream. Yet the dream of wealthy elites has become a real-life nightmare for millions of average Americans. The Daily Caller’s new feature film, “Lawless,” debuts Oct. 26 and will expose the real cost of the “Defund the Police” movement.

“We are not a city that can handle parallel critical incidents,” said Matt Mackowiak, co-founder of Save Austin Now, a PAC dedicated to restoring public safety and quality of life in Austin, Texas.

“If we get to a situation where we have a serious bank robbery in North Austin, and something happening at [Austin City Limits Music Festival] at the same time, we will not have enough police officers to respond to both incidents,” he continued.

Austin is home to some of the biggest cultural events in the country. Music festivals, football games, Formula 1 races — they all draw visitors from around the world. Yet, as Mackowiak pointed out, the “Defund” movement has made it so police no longer have the capacity to keep Austin safe during these events. Citizens will continue to be robbed, beaten, raped and murdered as calls to 911 increasingly go unanswered.

With the support of our dedicated Patriots subscribers, “Lawless” will expose the failed policies and corrupt ideology of our ruling elites that have brought American cities to the brink. (RELATED: America’s Cities In Crisis: Daily Caller’s ‘Lawless’ To Expose Fallout Of ‘Defund The Police’)

We sat down with Mackowiak as part of an investigation into the senseless violence and decay that has gripped American cities since the Black Lives Matter riots of 2020. Our crew of dedicated documentary filmmakers traveled to three cities at the forefront of the “Defund” movement to examine the terror it has unleashed. Random attacks, industrial-scale looting, and rampant homelessness and drug use — all the predictable results of siphoning resources and support away from police. Austin is the tip of the iceberg, but the problem is not confined to major urban areas.

Police resignations increased by 47 percent between 2019 and 2022, according to a Police Executive Research Forum survey. In the same span of time, the total number of sworn officers decreased by about 5 percent as recruitment was unable to keep up. Combined, this has led to a shortage of cops across the country; even small towns are not immune. Nearly 40 small towns have disbanded their police departments since 2019, according to a study from Rice University.

Facing unprecedented hostility and abuse, police officers around the country are quitting their jobs at a rate “never seen before,” according to the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP).

“I want to signal a crisis,” FOP President Patrick Yoes warned. “Our profession is dependent on the best and brightest stepping up and taking this job. And because of the actions, and because of the turmoil that has happened in the last two years, we have a crisis right now in manpower.”

Due to the national police shortage, all departments are struggling with recruitment, retention and pay. But rural communities face a unique set of difficulties, according to Sgt. Betsy Smith of the National Police Association.

“As a small-town police officer, there’s a really good chance you don’t have any backup,” Smith told Fox News. “You’re kind of on your own, left to take care of yourself and figure things out yourself. So, we have to think about what we are willing to pay for as the citizens of those small communities.” Without better funding, response times will continue to increase.

Through our investigation, we were able to paint a picture of the impending crisis yet to unfold. Soon, cities and towns across America won’t just face a choice between maintaining a police presence at major events and responding to everyday crime. If the trend continues, departments will no longer have the capacity to respond to crime at all. Liberal elites will always be fine in their gated communities, but in a time of crisis, this could mean life or death for vulnerable communities. A new generation of Americans will grow up wondering, “If I call 911, will anyone even answer?”

At the Daily Caller, we reject that things have to be this way. We aim not only to stem the tide of violence in American cities, but also to prevent the impact of these failed policies from spreading into the Heartland more than they already have.

The Daily Caller’s documentary productions are made possible by our faithful Patriots members, and we wouldn’t be able to do it without them. For the best political analysis in the business, please consider subscribing.