‘Shootings and our homicides this year are higher’: City leaders and Amarillo police discuss crime in Amarillo

Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 9:39 PM CDT
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - The fifth installment of the City of Amarillo’s Community Solutions series was held tonight with the topic being crime in Amarillo.

Members of Amarillo City Council led a discussion on crime within the community, along with a presentation by Amarillo Police Department’s Chief Martin Birkenfeld.

The primary goals of these community solutions programs are to allow members of City Council to receive feedback directly from Amarillo residents and allow the community to be engaged with providing ideas and solutions for different topics.

“Help members of the public, members of the council make decisions about their safety and also gives us an opportunity to be transparent about what we’re doing, so it’s important for us to to make sure that the public understands what we’re doing, as well as ways that that you can stay safe and things that you can do to help reduce crime in Amarillo,” said Martin Birkenfeld, chief of police, Amarillo Police Department.

He says this meeting allowed them to let the community know where we currently stand in terms of crime.

“Our shootings and our homicides this year are higher than they’ve been in years past, we’re seeing this trend across the nation and there’s a lot of folks doing studies looking at ways to identify the root causes of this and we’re part of that as well, so we want the public to know what’s going on, what needs to be done in our community and what each individual can do to make things better,” said Birkenfeld.

Although we have seen a lot of recent high-profile shootings he says, our violent crime trend is slightly trending downwards overall.

Needs of the police department were also expressed, which included:

  • Support for violence intervention with youth
  • Support for community-based programs to reduce drinking and driving
  • Support for mental health resources in the community
  • Technology improvements
  • Incremental growth in personnel and equipment

City leaders along with community members praised the police department for their work.

The city says they work closely with APD to help meet the needs of the department.

“We’ve worked out an incredibly great meet and confer deal to ensure that we’re taking care of the needs and making for sure that were able to get the opportunities to pay the police officers what they need that keeps them here and keeps our community safe,” said Eddy Sauer, Amarillo City Council, place 3.

Birkenfeld also mentioned with the new gun laws, he does not believe that is the cause for the recent crimes.

He ended the meeting with some tips to make sure the community is practicing gun safety.

  • Always remove firearms from your car
  • Keep firearms in a safe place, away from children
  • Take a firearms safety course and practice gun safety

For more information on these community solutions meetings, click here.

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