Crime no longer in progress? Don’t call 911, APD says; use 311 instead

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(AP GraphicsBank)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Police Department is making a change to the way they respond to crimes.

Starting Friday, Oct. 1, APD wants people to use iReportAustin.com or call 311, not 911, to report crimes that are no longer in progress, when the suspect or people involved are no longer on the scene and when there is no further immediate threat to life or property.

Newly-appointed APD Chief Joseph Chacon gave a list of crimes or calls that could be impacted or considered non-emergencies:

  • Animal services
  • Attempted theft of property
  • Burglary of residence, business or vehicle
  • Crashes between vehicles that don’t require a tow, there are no injuries, both drivers have proof of insurance and a driver’s license and neither driver is impaired
  • Verbal disturbances
  • Prostitution
  • Suspicious person or vehicle
  • Theft

Now instead of a patrol officer responding to crimes like this you will see a crime technician.

“So our property crime technicians are actually in our forensics division and do receive specific training on the collection of evidence including forensic evidence such as DNA evidence or fingerprints and the proper submission of that,” Chacon said.

Save Austin Now, an organization that’s pushing for more officers and more funding for APD, says the changes are concerning.

“The police force simply does not have the manpower to respond to every call, so they have made the tragic and very difficult decision to stop responding with police officers to non-life-threatening calls,” said Matt Mackowiak, Save Austin Now co-founder. “That should be a wake-up call to every Austinite who may not understand how serious the situation is.”

Chacon said if there is an immediate threat to public safety, then a call to 911 is appropriate, and APD will dispatch an officer.

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