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Fighting Crime by Fixing 'Broken Windows' in Rundberg Area

Erika Aguilar, KUT News
The Austin Police Department hosted an event near Rundberg as a part of their outreach efforts launched this summer.

The Austin Police Department is taking steps to improve the Rundberg area as part of the Restore Rundberg Project. APD is conducting a Vehicle Abatement initiative: tagging and towing vehicles that are in violation of city ordinances and state laws.

It might seem trivial for police to address crime with efforts that target illegally parked cars, but University of Texas at Austin Associate Professor of Sociology and Consultant to the Restore Rundberg Project David Kirk says that it addresses a bigger sociological issue known as the Broken Window theory.

“When you have broken windows and other signs of neighborhood stress and disorder, it creates a lot of fear among neighborhood residents," Kirk says. "And in that case you get situations where residents are looking to get out of the neighborhood move away as quickly as possible are less likely to establish relationships with their neighbors. It basically undermines the community processes. The idea is to fix broken windows. Broken windows is – it’s more than just that. Things like getting abandoned cars out of the street, picking up trash, things like that. It’s important for revitalizing the neighborhood.”

APD is focusing on the abatement of junked nuisance vehicles - specifically vehicles in violation of:

  • Illegal Yard parking
  • Vehicles blocking sidewalks/cross walks
  • Vehicles parked with their left wheels to curb
  • Vehicles park with wheel more than 18 inches from curb

The Project was initiated by a $1 million grant issued by the Department of Justice to revitalize distressed neighborhoods – neighborhoods challenged by crime that also have high levels of community engagement.
Currently, the project is in its first phase.

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