Burglary crimes in the Austin area have hit a record low, according to the Austin Police Department’s 2015 Annual Crime and Traffic Report.
There were 5,000 total burglaries, about 563 burglaries per 100,000 residents in 2015, the lowest rate Austin has seen in 20 years.
“Citizens are starting to help prevent these crimes by locking their doors and keeping their property out of sight,” said Norman Bujanos, detective for the Austin Police Department burglary unit. “It’s making things less opportunistic for burglars to see your stuff.”
Bujanos covers downtown and central west Austin and said they usually see a rise of burglaries in apartment complexes when school starts.
“The most common causes of residential burglaries have been unlocked doors,” Bujanos said. “A majority of our burglaries are coming in the daytime when people are at work or at school.”
Nursing sophomore Avery Condrey said her apartment at Regents West at 24th was burglarized Monday after her roommate Sarah left the door unlocked for a friend
to pick a dress up.
“Sarah was coming home on the phone with her mom and saw our door was cracked open,” Condrey said. “All of our purses were on our beds opened up like someone had gone through them, and that’s when we knew someone had broken in.”
Condrey said only Sarah’s computer was stolen. They reported the crime to UTPD, who quickly referred them to APD to file a report.
“Of course the one time we leave the door unlocked someone comes in,” Condrey said.
The recent University of Texas 2016 annual security and fire police report showed 18 total on-campus burglaries in 2015. In comparison, there were 36 on-campus burglaries in 2012, 37 cases in 2013 and 34 cases in 2014, according to the University of Texas’s 2015 annual security report.
UT police officer Ben Land said community outreach has been the biggest effort officers have made in reducing crime in the campus area.
“A lot of these criminals are just targets of opportunities,” Land said. “We look at how to deny people those opportunities and to make students more aware of their surroundings.”
Land said about 90 percent of reported crimes are property crimes and about 10 percent are crimes against people.
APD district representatives and detectives in the APD burglary unit put on presentations for homeowners associations to let them know how to prevent burglaries for the neighborhood watch program, Bujanos said.
“[If] people are just being a little bit smarter with they’re doing, I think it makes the Austin area a lot safer,” Bujanos said.