At Northwest Austin Civic Association’s annual meeting, Austin police gave about 140 residents an update on crime in the area and offered tips on how to keep the community safe.
Part of Northwest Austin falls into Austin Police Department Region 1, which encompasses 40 square miles north of the Colorado River, south of West Anderson Lane and west of I-35.
“We live in one of the safest cities in the country, and you all live in one of the safest communities in the safest city," Region 1 Commander Kurtis Krause said.
Krause said no violent crimes have been reported in Region 1 in the past month. Residents’ main concern is property crime, which also occurs less frequently in Northwest Austin than in other parts of the city, he said.
APD district representatives live in the communities they serve and act as liaisons between residents and police, Krause said. He encouraged Northwest Austin residents to get to know their district representatives, who can help enhance patrol efforts, educate residents and students about safety, and attend neighborhood association meetings to speak or answer questions.
At the May 14 meeting, APD Assistant Chief Brian Manley spoke about the national feeling toward police in light of the death of Freddie Gray, for which six Baltimore police officers face charges.
“We’re at a crossroads,” Manley said. “The work has not been done on the front end to build community trust.”
Manley said through its district representative program, which started in 1998 with only two officers, the APD has tried to build trust with Austin neighborhoods.
“These members are ingrained in the community,” he said.
Their duty is to attend school and community events, he added.
Manley also said with the new 10-1 representation on City Council, neighborhoods are better represented and have a larger voice when it comes to police staffing and the APD budget.
“You have a lot more opportunity to weigh in,” he said. “It’s encouraging to see this level of community involvement.”
Manley said the APD is looking inward to ensure it remains transparent, and the department is confident it has the support of the majority of the Austin community.