Thursday, June 9, 2022

More Safety Measures Headed to Sixth Street

Building on a series of actions taken as part of the Safer 6th Street initiative, the City Council today approved expediting the purchase of 13 more HALO cameras – High Activity Location Observation – for the popular entertainment district.
Mayor Steve Adler and Council Members Mackenzie Kelly, and Sabino “Pio” Renteria co-sponsored the resolution, which passed unanimously, with Mayor Pro Tem Alison Alter adding her name as a co-sponsor.
 “We want people to feel safe when they visit Sixth Street to socialize and enjoy the entertainment district,” said Council Member Tovo, who has led on the Safer 6th action items. “The additional cameras can help police respond quickly to criminal activity and to hold accountable individuals who may come down to Sixth Street to engage in crime and cause trouble.”
The Council passed the first phase of the Safer 6th initiative shortly after last summer’s mass shooting in the district that killed 25-year-old Douglas Kantor, who was visiting from out of town, and wounded several others. Today’s action comes just days before the one-year anniversary of Kantor’s death on June 12, 2021.
Tovo’s resolution directs the city to pay for the additional cameras from the “Tourism and Promotion Fund” of the hotel occupancy tax or other appropriate funding. City Council will need to approve the actual purchase in a later action.
The resolution also directs staff to report back to the Council by July 1 about other technology that could expand or enhance the city’s existing HALO system.
Additionally, as part of the resolution, city staff will survey bar operators in the Historic 6th Street District and the Rainey Street Historic District to gauge their interest in using city-purchased hand-held metal detector wands for patrons entering their establishments.
“Lock Arms for Life and Texas Gun Sense thank Council Member Tovo and the Austin City Council for prioritizing these safety measures to create a safer downtown Austin,” said Leesa Ross, director of Lock Arms for Life, which works closely with Texas Gun Sense on firearm safety issues. “Enhancing safety practices for businesses will go a long way to helping economic recovery and will put the public at ease, knowing that guns and alcohol don’t mix.”

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