“What I am seeing looks like normal fluctuation in crime that we would see over a number of years as opposed to a reduction based on fear of reporting and fear of interaction with police,” Assistant Police Chief Joseph Chacon said.
The Assistant Police Chief said he also reached out to individuals in the department to see if they felt their interactions with the immigrant community in Austin changed.
“What I overwhelmingly heard back was ‘no,’ they did not hear of any big change in interactions,” Chacon said “They are not seeing and I am sure not hearing that people aren’t cooperating because of fear of immigration officials.”
A city’s police force can’t do their job properly if a section of the population they are sworn to protect doesn’t trust them. Chacon’s brief survey of the police force may calm Austin citizens worried that immigrants no longer feel welcome in the Live Musical Capital of the World, but it does nothing to remedy immigrant’s fears.
Many in the immigrant community feared that police would report victims of crime in Austin to Immigration and Customs Enforcement instead of helping to remedy the situation because they were in the country illegally. However, Austin police have said that they don’t start investigations into a person’s citizen status.
Travis County Sherriff Sally Hernandez said she was worried that giving federal immigration agents unlimited access to inmates would destroy the years of trust and cooperation built up between her officers and the immigrant community.
According to the Los Angeles Times, those concerns are shared in other immigrant communities in this country. Just last week, the Los Angeles police chief said reports of family violence and sexual assault among the Latino community had dropped, due to fears that interacting with police would result in being forced out of the country.