submitted by Tom Linehan

The number of reported crimes in Allandale in 2007 was down 2% from
2006. That’s little comfort to the neighborhood. Ask anyone and they
will tell you crime, specifically burglary, is a problem in Allandale.
Thieves are kicking down doors in broad daylight and breaking into cars
at night.

Pulling from the Austin Police Department’s online crime database,
“Crime Report Viewer,” the total number of incidents in 2007 was 1,232
compared to 1,258 in 2006. As always, stealing from cars, “Burglary of
Vehicles,” accounted for the largest number of incidents (148 incidents
in 2007). “Theft” was the second most common reported crime (125
incidents), and “Burglary of Residence” ranked number nine on the list
with a total of 33 reported incidents in the neighborhood in 2007.

2007_v_2006_image There were 15 reported incidents of “Solicitation Prohibited,” or aggressive panhandling which supports the contention that panhandling is a problem in our neighborhood. To support the crime stats, what follows are some recent crimes as reported by those close to the incidents:

This was emailed to me in December 2007:
“Didn’t know if you guys are trying to keep up with area crime.  If interested, there was an attempted break in at my house in the 5500 block of Woodview Ave. yesterday.  In broad daylight, a man attempted to kick my door in.  Fortunately, a neighbor was home and scared him (and a woman waiting in a car in front of the house) away.  My door is ruined, but he did not get in the house.”

And the following incident in October 2007:
“On Saturday, Oct. 7th, around 5 p.m. there were police units including a forensic unit under the Mopac/2222 overpass.  A neighbor e mailed Officer Crowder, asking what had occurred.  This is his reply:

Officer Crowder’s reply:
"There was a transient on transient aggravated assault.  The suspect was arrested at the scene.  The victim passed away yesterday from his injuries." 

Posted to the Allandale newsgroup in January 2008:
“Last week, with my car being locked and under a streetlight, someone took out my dash board and took the heater, the air conditioner, CD player and radio. No fingerprints and the forensic person said it was a very professional job. I talked to a woman who lives very close by that was home when they kicked in her door frame and took everything while she locked herself in her bedroom. A man lept over my side fence when I came home one day and ran down Northland. I couldn’t catch him. This is happening in Hyde Park at a record rate. What are we going to do about it? The word is getting out about  this area and believe me, your real estate value will ultimately suffer. I’m very concerned and if this continues, then I will be forced to move out of this area. When is the next neighborhood meeting? I hope many can attend it and voice concern and how to address this increasing crime wave.”

Another post to the Allandale newsgroup in January 2008:
“I walk early in the morning, and this morning, there was a car on Albata
Ave. that had had its passenger window broken and the radio removed. We
reported it to the police and one of the officers told me that he had no idea about
the attempted break-in I reported on Sunday night. He said if he had known,
he would have increased the patrols in this area. I believe he said he was
in charge of our area, the Baker area. I told him that 4 officers came out to
investigate, but he was not informed about it. He told me, from now on, to
always report anything like this to the District Rep. as well as the police.
The phone number he gave me for our District Rep. was 974-5340. Some of our
neighbors are not on the list serve and so we need to pass the word on to
remove faceplates from any "after factory" radios, lock our car/truck doors,
turn on the car alarms and report any suspicious behavior. I suspect that
this break-in was done by the same people in the white Toyota Camry that my
daughter witnessed trying to break into our truck Sunday night.”

Is Allandale ready to form its own neighborhood patrol similar to what some South Central neighborhoods have done recently as reported in a recent article in the Austin American-Statesman, “Residents are ‘extra eyes and ears’ for police,” by Miguel Liscano, December 28, 2007? The article talks about how residents feeling an urgent need to combat crime patrol their neighborhood as part of the Austin Police Department’s revived Citizens on Patrol program. The residents don’t personally bring down criminals but instead call police when they see something suspicious.

This may not be the answer for Allandale however I think it’s time for Allandale to once again organize a neighborhood safety committee to study our options. If you are interested in participating, email me at tlinehan [Email address: tlinehan #AT# - replace #AT# with @ ].