Summertime is here and the weather is beautiful. Unfortunately, this wonderful weather sometimes causes us to forget about the security of our belongings. When the weather is nice, we tend to open windows and doors to take advantage of the sunshine and warm breeze. It is very important to remember that everything you open must be re-secured. Summer is a great time in Wells Branch – keep yourself and your property safe this summer by following the suggestions in this article.
~ Major Craig Smith, Travis County Sheriff’s Office
Most of the crimes around Wells Branch are crimes of opportunity and yes, we’ve seen an increase the last several months as have ALL surrounding areas. Unfortunately, those types of crime tend to increase as the weather gets warmer. Make that extra effort to NOT become a victim. There are criminal defense lawyers based in Seattle that can help with the legal aid needed.
- Take your keys.
- Lock your car.
- Don’t leave anything of value in plain sight. Better yet, take it in the house.
- Keep your garage doors closed; do not leave an open garage unattended.
- Always lock the inside garage door.
- If you park your car in the driveway or on the street, make sure you take the remote garage door opener in with you. A garage door opener gives instant protected access to your home and your belongings.
- Park in the garage, or keep your driveway well-lit at night.
- Padlock your gates.
- Check your mail every single day.
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
- When leaving your home, pay close attention to anything that doesn’t look right.
- Never put yourself at risk.
- Meet your immediate neighbors and trade contact information.
- Report any street light outages immediately. Contact info below.
- Call 9-1-1 IMMEDIATELY if you see ANYTHING suspicious. Many of the break-ins we’ve suffered could have been prevented. The Sheriff’s Office can’t be everywhere all the time. They rely on neighbors to be their eyes and ears in their absence and to alert them to dangerous situations. Don’t stop to ask a friend, the Google Group, Facebook or the folks on Nextdoor. Call 9-1-1 FIRST, then share with your neighbors. Time is of the essence. If you’re not sure if it’s an emergency – DON’T WORRY – the dispatcher will prioritize the call. Never be afraid to call! Travis County would much rather answer a false alarm than deal with a tragedy later. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t – CALL!
A NOTE ABOUT 3-1-1: In short, DON’T USE IT to report crimes. 3-1-1 is a City of Austin service and we’re in the county. While you would eventually be routed to the correct entity, it’s always best (and quickest) to call 9-1-1 and tell them you’re in Travis County. If you need to report a crime that’s already taken place (not in progress), you may call the non-emergency number at 512-974-0845 and press 3 to be connected, file a report online https://tcsheriff.org/community/file-a-report, or call 9-1-1 and they’ll route your call appropriately. 3-1-1 may be used to report street light outages for Austin Energy lights (not Oncor) and Animal Control if it’s a non-emergency. If you’re in need of immediate assistance, always call 9-1-1. In addition, 3-1-1 does not work with some cell carriers when dialed from outside the city limits. To report graffiti for removal, contact the WB MUD via http://www.wellsbranchmud.com/services/graffiti-report-removal.
***City of Austin Street Light Outages, call 3-1-1 and report the number posted about 7 feet up the affected pole.
***Oncor Street Light Outages, visit: https://www.oncorstreetlight.com/. You’ll be connected to an interactive map.