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Fighting Back: South Austin Neighborhood Residents Patrolling For Burglars
Residents living in one South Austin area are fighting back against burglars. More than 60 people living in the Travis Heights and Saint Edwards neighborhoods have signed up to patrol their streets.
Raymond Sinatra is on patrol. He's your average Joe trying to keep his neighborhood safe, cruising for the crook who stole his barbeque grill.
"That was the big reason I joined neighborhood watch patrol. If you're going to steal my grill that's pretty personal," he says.
Sinatra is making light of a serious situation plaguing the South River City Citizens Association -- residential burglaries.
In 2010, there were 26 burglaries. Over the next two years, the numbers dropped to less than half. But in 2013 there have already been 15.
"At least half the neighbors on this side street have been burglarized," said Pat Conegliano.
And now Conegliano is trying to get her neighbors involved. "Instead of bringing a cup of sugar bring your phone number of your email…and stay connected," she added.
Some 60 residents have joined the neighborhood patrol program.
"They get involved. They help us solve the problems," said Sgt. Jaime Jobes.
He says would-be criminals look for easy targets. "If they walk up to the car and the doors unlocked and they know no one is watching them they're going to open the door and take what they can," added Jobes.
But Jobes claims cooks will go elsewhere if they know someone is watching.
That's why Sinatra is hoping more people will sign up to patrol -- keeping the criminals on the move.
"I love it when I see the patrol car go by and say thank you," said Conegliano.
The next neighborhood watch training seminar will be held on Tuesday, March 5 at 6:30p.m., at the south police substation.
By Alex Boyer