AUSTIN (KXAN) - An Austin neighborhood is cracking down on game rooms popping up where they live.
Some of them are legal, while others are not. And Austin police are watching them all, asking for help in spotting them.
"We didn't want the traffic and we didn't want the gambling," said Robert Meadows, president of the Walnut Creek Neighborhood Association.
Meadows and his neighbors spent time monitoring a game room operating in a commercial building at the corner of Interstate 35 and Meadow Lark Drive. There was no indication the game room was operating illegally, but it brought a lot of traffic through the neighborhood.
Neighbors called the Austin Police Department, Code Compliance and the owner of the building. The game room operators quickly packed up and left behind an empty building.
"We had a three-pronged attack. We don't know what worked. We know, also, that they were feeling pressure from the neighborhood. Maybe that did it," said Meadows.
Austin police are encouraging others to keep watch for illegal game rooms popping up in or around neighborhoods.
Aside from not awarding money, officers said legal game rooms must have transparent windows and unlocked doors at all times and must be clearly marked as a game room with signage.
APD district representatives recently sent out an alert for people to be watching for game rooms.
"The concerns there are that large sums of money are exchanging hands, and the money is guarded by people with weapons. And other people with money are coming in, and it's a very volatile situation," said Meadows.
Neighbors in the Walnut Creek area -- which is bordered by Lamar Boulevard on the west, I-35 on the east, Braker Lane on the south, and Walnut Creek on the north -- also alerted police to a game room set up inside a home in their neighborhood last summer. The owner there quickly shut things down after the residents put on pressure.
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