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Constable Carlos Lopez and his deputies assist the citizens and courts of Travis County

Carlos B. Lopez, Constable

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Bruce Elfant

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Notebook Archives



Constable's Notebook - December 2005

According to new data released by the Austin/Travis County Victim Services Task Force, Travis County crime rates for most categories are again on the rise. Aggravated assaults have increased by 7%, robbery 12%, child abuse 35%, sexual assault and rape 11%, and elder abuse 7%. The only good news in the Victim Services report is that family violence reports have leveled off and DWI fatalities have gone down. While all of us are at risk of being victimized, people with physical and mental disabilities, children, the elderly, immigrants and those under the influence of drugs or alcohol, are more likely to be victimized by violent crimes and scams.

Nationally, it is estimated that the majority of all sexual assaults and half of violent crimes go unreported. My experience has been that many people fail to report minor thefts such as stolen bicycles, tools. etc. All crimes no matter how minor should be reported, not because they would all be solved, but because law enforcement agencies are constantly monitoring patterns of criminal activity throughout our community. Law enforcement resources are deployed to where the need is as determined by the concentration of crime reports. Current and historical crime rates can be viewed by neighborhood www.ci.austin.tx.us/police/.

Victims of crime are eligible for a range of services including counseling and compensation for those who have suffered physical or emotional harm. The Austin Police Department and the Travis County Sheriff’s Office have nationally recognized victim services units with counselors who go to crime scenes with the officers. Information regarding the Crime Victims Compensation Fund may be obtained at http://www.oag.state.tx.us. The above listed agencies and other resources for crime victims may be obtained by calling 2-1-1.

Travis County has enjoyed relatively low crime rates compared to similar sized communities, we are far from crime free. We can reduce our chances of becoming crime victims by a number of common sense strategies. An APD security inspection would provide recommendations regarding doors, windows, locks, lighting, etc., to make your home less attractive to criminals. APD also assists neighborhoods wishing to establish neighborhood watch programs. Perhaps the best protection for neighborhoods is for neighbors to know, watch out for one another and immediately report any suspicious activity. In Texas all adults MUST report any suspicion of abuse or victimization of children, the elderly and persons with disabilities to local law enforcement or the state hotline at 1-800-252-5400.

The Victims Services Task Force Report may be obtained at www.caction.org or by calling 414-8203.



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