Things are looking up for residents living in and around a pocket of North Austin that had been plagued with littering, code violations, loud music, drug dealing, prostitution, burglaries and violent crimes, says the Austin American-Statesman. Police calls have dropped drastically in an area where immigrants have been frequent victims of aggravated assaults and robberies. The program’s goal isn’t to make arrests but to improve the quality of life. Since Operation Good Neighbor began June 4, there have been fewer cars on yards and fewer prostitutes and transients at bus stops. Although 27 robberies were reported in May, there have been five as of June 20.
Police and neighborhood representatives make their expectations for neighborly behavior known to tenants, landlords, and newcomers. The crime rate has risen since 2004 despite five community outreach efforts. Trash continued to accumulate after an organized cleanup collected more than 13 tons of trash. Residents and police expect the current program to work better because for the first time, property owners are involved in the enforcement effort. Anthony Williams, president of the North Austin Civic Association, said he has sent letters to area rental owners notifying them of parking and litter on yards.