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APD: Thieves Targeting Your Belongings As You Play
Austin police are seeing a spike in smash-and-grab burglaries. Crooks are cruising public parks, targeting your personal property while you're out at play.
Officer Joshua Visi, a crime prevention officer with the Austin Police Department, says park goers are falling victims to patient burglars.
"You're going to be gone 30, 45 minutes, up to an hour and that gives them greater opportunity to pick a spot to break into your car," said Visi.
And at an alarming rate -- since January 1, APD has responded to 2,349 vehicle break-ins. Many of them at popular places like the Norwood Tract dog park located off Riverside Drive.
"The cars aren't that visible from here," said Allison Paver.
Paver frequents the dog park with her frisky fido and she's gone a long time. "Probably anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours," added Paver.
Officer Visi says Paver is a prime target and admits signs warning drivers to lock and hide their valuables aren't curbing crime.
"That's because the bad guys have figured out that when you're using those facilities you're not taking your belongings with you," said Visi.
So Visi suggests you simplify and only bring your essentials -- like I.D., cash and cell phone -- and leave all other valuables at home.
Visi recommends park goers invest in a small waist bag -- something that stays on you at all times and can safely store your valuables.
By Alex Boyer