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How APD is handling hundreds of suspicious package calls

Austin Police continue inspecting packages for residents. Since Monday morning they've received more than 265 calls about suspicious deliveries in Austin. Calling police is a precaution APD is asking people to take when unexpected packages show up at their door. (CBS Austin)

Austin Police continue inspecting packages for residents. Since Monday morning they've received more than 265 calls about suspicious deliveries in Austin. Calling police is a precaution APD is asking people to take when unexpected packages show up at their door.

The flashing police lights and streets temporarily blocked is a scene you'll spot across Austin as officers inspect packages for residents.

"It's scary. It makes you not have faith in the safety of your neighborhood," says Riashath Alahi who has lived in east Austin for four years. Alahi gets packages from out-of-town relatives often and won't hesitate to contact police if something arrives on his porch that makes him uneasy.

"I'm going to let APD do what they're doing and I'll definitely call in if I see something suspicious," Alahi says.

APD has responded to hundreds of suspicious package calls in the last 48 hours. Tuesday they inspected one in the 1400 block of E. 37th Street, then another in the 400 block of Denson Drive followed by more near 5200 Joe Sayers Avenue.

"We are responding to each call," APD Chief Brian Manley said in a press conference Tuesday afternoon.

APD says they a member of the public calls in a suspicious package, an initial officer is sent to assess the situation. If it's appropriate, they bring in an explosive detecting K-9 or bomb technician. The Austin Fire Department is on standby to help with suspicious package calls if the police department gets overwhelmed. Despite hundreds of calls, they haven't been needed for backup yet.

As the investigation continues authorities say why this is happening isn't as important as stopping it from happening again.

"Whether that's a hate crime or terrorism or organized crime is somewhat insignificant. What's significant is the effort to find who's making these devices to make sure there's not a fourth or a fifth device," said Christopher Combs, special agent in charge of the FBI's San Antonio division.

Police are urging people to stay alert and report suspicious activity -- no matter how small. They say keeping the community safe must be a community-wide effort.

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