AUSTIN (KXAN) — Mount Bonnell is known for its spectacular views of Austin, but it’s also getting a reputation as a hot spot for car break-ins.
“The passenger door window was completely shattered, and someone had broken in and taken my daughter’s handbag and all of its contents,” said Sheryl Snyder, who was visiting Mount Bonnell from out of town.
From Jan. 1 – March 7, there have been 100 car burglaries within 2,000 feet of the park according to the Austin Police Department’s Crime map.
“I share the frustration and I share the disappointment,” said councilmember Alison Alter. “Obviously it is not a positive story, and it is not a positive look for the city.”
Alter said APD has arrested some of the suspected burglars, and APD confirmed that in a statement to KXAN Tuesday afternoon.
“I have been working with APD and with PARD to get more investment in the area, and we are actively pursuing every step that we can,” Alter said.
In September when we initially reached out to her office, Alter said they were looking into HALO cameras, but so far none have been added.
“We have signage up now that talks about not leaving your bag in your car and that is one important piece,” Alter said. “It is not the only piece and we want to make sure we have the patrols and that we are arresting folks.
Austin Parks and Recreation told KXAN after a rash of incidents in July, August and September, it installed dummy cameras at Mount Bonnell as a theft deterrent.
The department told us the fake cameras were later removed since crime did not decrease.
APD told KXAN in a statement it continues to patrol the area with “directed patrols” and operations targeting car break-in suspects. Those operations include undercover cops surveying the area.
These are oftentimes crimes of opportunity. Someone leaves a purse or bag in plain view, and that’s when criminals strike. APD said to make sure to hide your valuables or take them with you when leaving your car.
“We went online and could see this has happened to many people,” Snyder said.
Snyder said her son-in-law called police after the incident.
“We were very disappointed that no officer would be coming to the scene, they told him to simply file a report,” she said.
According to APD, the Pennybacker Bridge area, Lake Austin and Lakewood Drive near Bull Creek Park are all targeted areas for car break-ins.