Community app shows area crimes, trend concerns neighbors

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by QUITA CULPEPPER / KVUE News and photojournalist ERIN COKER

kvue.com

Posted on October 17, 2013 at 6:17 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 18 at 4:03 PM

AUSTIN – North Austin residents say a new smart phone app may be pushing criminals into nearby neighborhoods.

Danann Patrick has lived in the Quail Creek Neighborhood in North Austin for the past six years. She's getting to know hundreds of others in her community thanks to a new app called Next Door.

“It's like a private site for neighbors. So there's anything from garage sales, to people that maybe need babysitters, all the way to crimes that are happening in the neighborhood,” Patrick said.

She says the app seems to show a crime trend on the rise where she lives.

“A house got broken into two streets over. Recently my neighbor's SUV got stolen in the middle of the night. So I'm seeing it more because I'm so connected to the app,” Patrick said.

She thinks the increase may be linked to an increased police presence in the nearby Rundberg neighborhood.

“They know the hot spots and where the cops are. Where else are they going to go? They're going to go somewhere where there's no police officers,” said Patrick.

Austin Police Department Lt. Allen McClure is in charge of the Restore Rundberg Initiative.

“I don't know that crime has been dispersed or displaced just yet. It's too early to tell,” he said.

He says APD's crime analysts are working to see if Patrick's theory is correct.

“We'll monitor crime stats, and we'll look for any displacement of crime,” Lt. McClure said. “We will follow it wherever it leads us.”

Lt. McClure tells KVUE News there have been eight enforcement initiatives in the Rundberg neighborhood since February.

Out of the nearly 300 vehicles and pedestrians stopped by APD, 112 involved drugs or prostitution. Of those, 105 people were arrested.

APD says apps like Next Door are a good way to stay connected with your community.

“We have to do what we have to do to keep it safe,” Patrick said.

The Next Door app is available across the nation. You have to sign up to specific neighborhood groups to see what's happening there.

APD says it hopes to have more statistics available soon on whether crime is being displaced out of the Rundberg area.
 

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