FBI: Austin is 2nd safest city when it comes to violence

FBI: Austin is 2nd safest city when it comes to violence

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The FBI has released their yearly crime statistics for 30 major U.S. cities and even though we appear to be doing pretty well when it comes to violent crimes, it's property theft that's still a huge problem in Austin.

Julian Reyes is an Austin activist and artist.

He works with photo-reactive polymer clay that glows in the dark...making small figurines.

A few months ago while doing yoga in the green belt, somebody broke into his car.

"My window had been smashed. And they had removed all my art and all of my art supplies and it was totally tragic," Reyes said.

Reyes is one of the many victims of property theft here in Austin.

According to the FBI's yearly uniform crime report and APD, in 2012 the number of violent crimes in Austin were very low compared to other major cities -- ranking number 2 in the nation with only 3,407 offenses including 33 murders. In 2011, we ranked number 3.

But police Chief Art Acevedo says property crime is still the big challenge. We ranked 27th on the list in 2011 and only moved up one spot this time to 26th --- with 43,472 offenses.

"The thing about Austin is that it's a huge American city that still has a small town feel to it. Neighbors still know neighbors in this city, family's still come out and play in parks and on the streets together. And I think it's that small-town feeling to a major American metropolis [that] creates a situation where people leave their guards down," Acevedo said.

According to the chief, there are plenty of common sense things you can do to prevent home burglaries or robberies like installing strong doors, putting dead bolts on them...and actually locking them.

"A third of our burglaries, there is no forced entry because people don't lock their doors! They don't close their garage doors, if you're going to go to the store, if you're going to go across the street to a neighbor. Too many property crimes are based on a quick opportunity," Acevedo said.

"I do know one thing. I was raised differently than I guess those people. Because I was always taught by my grandmother if it's not yours, don't touch it. It's really simple," Reyes said.

Reyes says he hasn't gotten any calls recently from Austin P.D. in relation to his case.

"I'm just gonna continue on working. I don't have any confidence that the police are gonna do anything so I'm gonna continue working on art and trying to re-do my inventory before the 'Art Outside' festival," Reyes said.

Chief Acevedo says the trouble spots for crime are still Rundberg and the St. John's area.

But as we've reported many times, the department has been working with a $1 million grant from the Justice Department to try and turn that neighborhood around.

Also, Acevedo mentioned that since ACL is coming up, people need to be on the lookout for anything suspicious.

He said to treat it like you would an airport. If you see someone wearing a giant coat in this hot weather or if you see someone leave a bag somewhere, by all means, call the police.

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