AUSTIN -- Austin police are warning residents who live on the outskirts of downtown to protect their belongings and inventory their valuables due to a recent increase in burglaries and car break-ins.
APD’s downtown district representatives passed out flyers in neighborhoods just east of Interstate 35. They urge residents to "please take time to document serial number, make/model and description of any valuable items in your residence and vehicle." APD officers also suggest photographing the front and back of the items.
APD reports an increase in home burglaries during the day and vehicle break-ins at night. In January, there were 175 thefts, 15 burglaries and four vehicles stolen in the downtown sector alone.
Ben Morgan witnessed a man stealing his neighbor’s vehicle.
"Someone passing by opened the door, grabbed her keys off the counter, drove it just down the street and parked it," said Morgan.
Police later arrested the person and found the vehicle. Still, Morgan says he will inventory his own belongings and take safety precautions.
"There have been a lot of crooks stealing things [and] putting them quickly on eBay or Craigslist, and if you do have those serial numbers you have a better chance of getting them back,” said Morgan.
APD is working a special enforcement to try and catch the thieves. They believe one group has committed a majority of the crimes.