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Summary of Issues Raised at the Police Board and with District Management

October 25, 2010
By

The Central Austin Neighborhood Association, CANA, represents 16 blocks in the 015ThDistrict. Our mission is to unite institutions and residents to build and protect an excellent place to live, work, play, raise children, run a business and worship. Our goal is to identify, strategize, and organize around significant community issues

  • To improve the physical and moral environment of the neighborhood.
  • To eliminate nuisances or unwholesome influences in the neighborhood.
  • To cooperate with various governmental agencies to improve the economic, health, safety, physical, and cultural standards

 

We are very concerned about what the police department treats as nuisance reports.

  • Loitering
  • Drinking in cars and on the streets
  • Sale of alcohol on the street
  • Curfew violations by minors
  • Alcohol consumption by minors
  • Drug use by minors
  • Drug sales
  • Loud public disturbances
  • Littering: Liquor bottles, drug packets condoms

 

These nuisance crimes have devastated our community. The persistence of these activities contributes to the deterioration of the moral fiber of the community. As these conditions continue, there is further degeneration and more violent crimes increase.

These conditions lead to:

  • Inability to attract business
  • Inability to attract jobs
  • Inability to attract decent tenants
  • Inability to attract home buyers
  • Drug turf violence
  • Collective emotional and moral sickness in the community

 

Consider the following. Two intersections, Madison and Mason, Madison and Mayfield , are less than one block from the 15th District police station.  Police officers drive by 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Yet, within one block of the police station, there is constant illegal activity. Police drive by crimes on the way to the police station. This is unacceptable.

We are very concerned with the ease with which police officers reveal the name of the complainant to suspected violators of crime. Police officers respond to a call and inform the suspected violator that a specific individual made the call. Angry suspects use this information to terrorize the individual that made the call.

We’ve been told that police are not trained to do this. Yet they do it with impunity. This leads to reluctance by citizens to call because they feel the police will not “protect them”.

It is ironic that in talking to a number of police officers, they do not want the people in their own neighborhoods to know that they are police. In fact they do not want to live in the areas where they work. They insist on anonymity. Yet they will reveal a citizen’s name without hesitation.

We are concerned about the high level of case dismissals. We attended a hearing for an arrest and discovered that most cases were dismissed due to the fact that the arresting officer was not present when the case was called.

We are very concerned with the assignment of police to our district. We understand that Superintendent Weis has taken on the issue of police manpower allocation based upon the level of crime in an area rather than ward or district lines. We commend this start.

There is a moral imperative to address this issue and to address it now. We must have a fair and efficient allocation of resources and a formula to address that allocation in real time.

In summary, our areas of concern are:

  • Poor response to all 911 calls
  • Lack of attention to nuisance crimes
  • Failure to sanction police who reveal the names of complainants
  • Unfair and inefficient allocation of police resources
  • Lack of sense of safety near a police station

 

Our questions are:

  • What is the timetable for implementation of the revised allocation strategy for police manpower
  • What are the metrics for determining efficiency, responsiveness and fairness of the allocation
  • How often will the allocation be reviewed
  • What is the approval process for the allocation methodology
  • Who or what body has the final say on the implementation date and process
  • What is the plan going forward to deal with these “nuisance” crimes that devastate the quality of life in the community
  • What can be done to eliminate the insistence  by officers and CAPS that citizens make multiple 911 calls before they can even expect a response to a 911 call about a crime
  • What sanctions can be put in place to penalize police who reveal the names of complainants to the suspected violators of crime

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