North Austin homeowners patrolling neighborhood after increase in break-ins

Crime

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Armed with their walkie talkies, a group of homeowners are trying to get their neighborhood back. 

They are fed up after a rash of car break-ins and have started patrolling their own streets in north Austin. 

“We get up and go to work 8 to 5. Come home, take a nap, get back up at 1 a.m., get in our cars out patrolling, back to bed by 5:30 just to get up at 7 a.m. to get to work by 8,” explained HOA Vice President Cristie Purple.

The Retreat at Tech Ridge HOA is behind the move. Members say they call 911, but by the time officers arrive the group of suspects have already moved on. 

Video from the neighborhood association show that the break-ins have ramped up over the last several months between 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. 

“They come by the car load sometimes and they will just scatter out of the car like ants and hit all the cars in the area and jump back in the car and take off to the next,” said Purple. 

Video surveillance from the neighborhood’s Facebook page shows suspects walking up to cars, pulling handles and if it opens taking what they can from inside. 

Purple patrols often and says she’s hoping it at least gets the police out quicker. The homeowners say they need more police presence overnight. 

APD says just last year there were more than 4500 calls that were either a burglary, theft or robbery in the north Austin area. 

A spokesperson couldn’t get specific response times for the neighborhood, but shared that average response times could vary depending on priority.​ The most common for these types of crimes could be 30 minutes or up to an hour and 45. ​

“This is my home. This is where I live. These are my neighbors,” said Purple. “These are my friends so if I can prevent anything worse from happening because we’re afraid that it’s starting as car break-ins, when is it gonna get to houses.”​

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