City cracking down on crime-ridden neighborhoods

AUSTIN (KXAN) — On Thursday, KXAN told you the state took over a ranch belonging to a polygamist group in West Texas.

The group’s leader, Warren Jeffs, will spend the rest of his life in prison after being convicted of sexually abusing two girls he took as child brides. In January, a judge ordered the forfeiture of the “Yearning for Zion” ranch — owned by the church.

What could happen to properties in Austin where crimes have been committed? The city says they depend on residents to call them when they see illegal activity. Some residents say parts of the city still need cleaning up.

“I see it changing fast,” East Austin developer Daniel Reeves said. “A lot of good people are moving here, and I think there’s no stopping it. Now’s a good time for a strong effort.”

Reeves started his business 3 years ago and says things on the east side have improved drastically.

“If we build something over here we know it’s gonna sell,” Reeves said. “That’s the big thing. People are coming here. They like being close to downtown. That’s the big draw.”

But, Reeves said he constantly deals with issues like people loitering outside his office.

APD says since the beginning of last year-they’ve responded to more than a dozen calls for illegal activity that falls under nuisance abatement. That includes everything from prostitution, to aggravated assault and organized criminal activity.

Sexual assault, robbery and gambling also fall under the nuisance abatement act.

“I think the east side in general should have more police routes,” a resident said. “I don’t think there’s enough of it all.”

According to APD, the city can’t legally seize property, but detectives say they can give warnings to property owners who have criminal activity happening on their property.

The city can close businesses, homes, apartments, hotels and convenience stores down for up to a year after giving residents and business owners a chance to clean them up.

“As far as violence, I don’t see violence over here,” a resident said. “Prostitution? Yeah, that needs to go. When you start having kids you don’t want that in your face.”

 

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