From:  SPO David V. Crowder Jr.

I am writing this in response to an increase in vandalism in
the Alandale Neighborhood Assoc.. This
may not necessarily pertain to your area but it’s good advise for everyone.

Someone on the list serve inquired about creating a
neighborhood watch. I can assist with
that, and they do work. Basically, a
neighborhood watch is neighbors looking out for one another. It’s leaving the confines of your house and
mingling with the people around you.

Learn each others habits, find out who are the stay home
moms, the retired, or the night owls who can help do their part looking out
after your block. If you’re interested,
ask you neighbors. If you do not live in
a cul-de-sac or live on a long block then only ask the neighbors close to
you. You really don’t more than 10 homes per neighborhood watch.

Someone asked about fingerprints. The problem, is the patrol officer or our property crimes unit does not have the fancy equipment
available in "CSI". Some of that technology does exist but it’s reserved for the
crimes against persons, not property crimes. With that said, and for those that may not know the dynamics of fingerprints. Basically a fingerprint is the oils in your skin left behind a residue. Since our skin has a series of hills and valleys, the residue left behind is made up from the tops of
the hills. Now we will leave our prints behind on everything. The powder we use adheres to the oil. Then we lay
a piece of tape over the print. The powder
sticks to the tape and we place the tape onto a piece of paper. To retrieve a print, you need a smooth surface. Next time you are in your vehicle look around and find a smooth surface (like glass, smooth metal). The upholstery in a vehicle is either vinyl or leather; both have the same
consistency as our skin (i.e. hills and valleys), thus you can not pull a print
from this material. We could
try the rear view mirror, but most "burglars" wont touch it. Auto thieves will
but not burglars. For those that had the bowling balls thrown threw their car windows, I would’ve had that
ball printed. If you did not, and had not been touching all over it then call
311 to have someone go out to print it.

The Vandalism. These
crimes are like graffiti. It is primarily
juveniles. Someone mentioned they remembered this kind of crimes years
ago, and inquired shouldn’t these juveniles grown by now. That is true, but I bet those delinquents
have little brothers, sisters, cousins, or children themselves following in their footsteps. We always see a spike of these kind of crimes right after school and right before
school. right after because the kids are excited about being out and right
before as sort of a protest for having to start school.  I’m not saying we should sit back an take it. I am saying
we need to be more vigilant. Make sure
you took everything of value out of your car. Make sure your porch lights are on before going to bed. If there is a street light out, call 311. They will forward it to Austin Energy. The port-a-potty that was dragged down the street. If you are
some renovations done, put a fence around the site. If you see a site that has no fencing, speak to the
superintendent, and advise him/her of the crime increases so he/she can take

I wish I had a better answer, and a better plan. these kind of crimes we really need the support of the citizens helping us (APD) help each other. 

Just a reminder that tomorrow at 6:30pm is the Commander’s Forum at the Beth Israel Synagogue at 3901 Shoal
  Creek Blvd.; topic of discussion will be Burglary of Vehicle prevention.

Hope everyone had a great summer, Be Safe

SPO David V. Crowder Jr. #4398
Austin Police Department
Central West Area Command
District Representative