This past Saturday, the Austin Police Department held a special Police Fair in North Central Austin. The point of the fair was to give officers the opportunity to reach out to residents and to let them know they are there to help. The fair was also organized as a way to help residents better understand the services that are available through the police department as well as other related agencies. The primary goal of the fair, however, was simply to create an open line of communication between the police department and its residents.
"They're a wealth of information. If we can break through the barrier that there's really a lot of communication that can take place and we can help each other. They can help us with things that are going on in their area," officer Munguia from the Austin Police Department told News 8 Austin.
A wealth of information was shared with concerned citizens, including things that many citizens were not aware of. For example, for those that wish to report a crime but want to remain anonymous, there is an alternative to the 911 emergency number. This number was actually made available to residents back in September 2001 and was put in place for those wishing to report a crime that is not an emergency or to follow up on an investigation.
In addition to making it possible to anonymously report a crime, the 311 number is also ideal for reporting crimes against property that are no longer in progress, animal control issues, and vehicles that are illegally parked.