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South Austin neighborhood reports 'constant' break-ins


A South Austin neighborhood says despite their efforts to stop break-ins they’re still happening on a daily basis. (CBS Austin)
A South Austin neighborhood says despite their efforts to stop break-ins they’re still happening on a daily basis. (CBS Austin)
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A South Austin neighborhood says despite their efforts to stop break-ins they’re still happening on a daily basis.

Caitlin and her husband closed on their first-ever home in South Austin back in May. In late September, she had to call police out to her house after they were broken into. She said the burglars kicked in the back door and stole her iMac and over $10,000 in electronics and photography equipment.

In the hours after the break-in, Caitlin said she noticed her dog acting strange before he got sick. She suspects the thieves fed the dog fried chicken to distract him while they stole from her home.

Two days after the burglary, Caitlin and Ryan got a letter from the Austin Police Department saying “there are no substantial leads or evidence to warrant an active investigation.”

“I was so scared. I could not sleep for days. We really couldn’t eat that week. You feel very violated,” said Caitlin.

Caitlin posted about her break-in on the Southwood Nextdoor page and she learned she was far from the only one targeted.

“It’s constant, it feels frustratingly lawless,” said Heather Kafka.

Kafka saw Caitlin’s post and shared a few stories of her own. She said her neighbor had a drum set stolen out of a backyard shed. On Nextdoor, she says she sees reports of neighbors saying their cars were rummaged through on a daily basis and she hears about tools being stolen all too often. “It’s to the point to where I do feel like a sitting duck because literally everyone around me has either been burglarized or their car rummaged through,” said Kafaka.

In the past two months, APD crime data shows 9 reported break-ins in a 2,000 foot radius around the South Austin neighborhood. Neighbors have asked 311 to assess the street for more overhead lights, some are installing cameras and a neighborhood watch program is in the works.

“It really does feel like as much as we talk to each other, as much as we call police as much as we post on Nextdoor, it feels like nothing is changing,” said Kafka.

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APD offered burglary prevention tips:

  • Record serial numbers for all electronics and firearms
  • Take photos of jewelry
  • Look out for you neighbors, communicate with them and let them know what you drive or general hours you'll be home
  • Make sure you have each other's contact information
  • If you have the means to, consider installing surveillance cameras or doorbell with cameras
  • Call 9-1-1 if you see someone suspicious or if your house is burglarized
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