National Night Out and Crime: Revenge of the Squeegee Guys

This started out as a rant about squeegee guys, but I decided to make an overall crime post. First, the squeegee rant, does anyone else feel like they’re living in NYC circa 1989 all of a sudden?

On my way to take the kids to day camp, I stopped on the northbound frontage of I-35 at Riverside. An aging bearded guy in a Guero’s shirt came up to my car with a squeegee and a wet rag. I immediately rolled down my window, told him that I didn’t have any cash or change (which was 100% true) and asked him not to clean the windshield. He proceeded to do it anyway, which stunned me. He said something about having kids in the car, so I suppose it turned into a good deed in his mind. However, I think cleaning the windshield when told not to do it is crossing the line, even if he didn’t demand money for it. Anybody else think that?

On my way home, I passed the southbound frontage of I-35 and Oltorf and found a second guy with a squeegee. I also passed the guy from the morning who was still in the same area, but on the southbound frontage.

In other crime news, last night was National Night Out. Our neighborhood had a small gathering of roughly 20-30 people with reps from APD, Fire and EMS. We feel we’ve been experiencing a spike in crime over the last year or so, but I’ve heard things from those living in Hyde Park and there was a story about a Rundberg neighborhood getting fed up with crime this past week. What about you? Do you feel crime is on the rise in Austin?

Last, the new police chief, Art Acevedo, seems to be busy making changes at APD. He’s in his third week on the job and there’s been at least one or two news stories a week on what he’s been up to, just search his name on Statesman or News8Austin. A local blog reports that at a talk last week Acevedo said that Austin is a major metropolitan center and we can’t run the police department like we’re a college town with a few thousand students. It’s early to tell, but it appears that he might make a difference.

3 Comments so far

  1. M1EK (unregistered) on August 9th, 2007 @ 9:08 am

    All of the central neighborhoods east of Lamar appear to be suffering from above-normal rates of property crime lately (and of course with some high-profile violent crime, but that’s too small to draw any conclusions). Not just Hyde Park. Hancock, Eastwoods, NUNA, etc.

    Frankly, I’m about ready to go postal the next time the cops brag about how they’re spending their time enforcing seatbelt laws or spending all day pulling over speeders on I-35 or Mopac. Of course, some of the same neighborhood nitwits complaining about crime want cops out there pulling over speeders all day too.

    The one and only one thing Giuliani ever got right, even if by accident, was to redirect law enforcement towards stuff like this so the middle class was comfortable enough to stay (and even return to) the city.

  2. chip (unregistered) on August 10th, 2007 @ 11:21 am

    North Shoal Creek–the neighborhood just north of Northcross–had a very well attended NNO. There were 126 people in attendance. I think that may be a sign of the rising levels of concern.

    There has been a significant increase in property crime recently. Also couple months back, a neighbor was assaulted and badly hurt by a thug posing as a door-to-door solicitor.

    We’ve been told part of the problem is that crime crackdowns on the other side of 183 are scattering criminals to nearby neighborhoods, like ours.

    I hope the new police chief can address these issues. I’m really concerned that a possibly souring economy and the huge influx from a Wal-Mart Supercenter could make things a lot worse.

  3. M1EK (unregistered) on August 10th, 2007 @ 1:02 pm

    Northcross as it exists today is more of a crime magnet than the worst possible SuperCenter. But extra points for working RG4N in here.

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