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Austin Police To Install Security Cameras

Posted at: 12/10/2012 9:44 PM
Updated at: 12/10/2012 10:12 PM
By: Steph Crock

(ABC 6 News) -- After a number of burglaries and even assaults, Austin Police are hoping to narrow in on the problem.

We've seen it before, just a couple months back a man was choked and robbed while walking home from work. It happened on the path behind the utility plant in Austin. That's where police say they're seeing more crimes like this.

They say the biggest problem is that there's no businesses, residents, anything like that back there, so when people face a problem on those paths, there's no one there to help. That's why police plan to install a camera system to catch the crooks in their tracks.

"I've been with the city for 15 years and about 3 or 4 years ago we really started seeing an uptick in crime back there," said Captain Dave McKichan with the Austin Police Department. He says it’s been going on for some time, people walking on these paths and being mugged, even physically hurt.

"A lot of times it’s either the simple robberies, just the threats of violence leading to the victim turning over money of valuables, but we have also had some actual assaults where victims have been hit, struck, sent to the hospital in those areas," said Captain McKichan.

They all seem to happen in the same area, on the paths behind the utility plant, library, even the plaza parking lot downtown. Authorities say, that's why they're  taking action. Police want to start by putting cameras along those paths.

Though the library already has its own camera system, Director Ann Hokanson says more can only help. "I think that the bike path area is heavily used by a lot of people so it’s nice that it is going to be kept safe by the camera system," said Hokanson.

Not only giving that sense of security back to those who use these paths, but also to catch those causing the problem. "In court, it really is ‘a picture is worth a thousand words.’ We can describe things in detail in our reports, we can have victims describe things, but the ability to actually capture someone on video really seals the case in most instances," said Captain McKichan.

Police say the project was funded by the Hormel Foundation. They hope to install the cameras by the spring, but no word on how many they will be putting in.