Police calls on the rise at The Domain as expansion continues

Rock Rose area of Domain Northside
Rock Rose area of Domain Northside (KXAN Photo/Calily Bien)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin police have received a greater number of calls in recent years to respond to The Domain in North Austin. Officers told KXAN that the larger call number can be attributed to the expansion in the area.

“With more people, there becomes more criminal activity going on,” explained Senior Officer William Costello, with the Austin Police Department. “There’s just a correlation that the amount of calls that we get for service increase when there’s more people that live and work and entertain themselves in this area.”

Data from the Austin Police Department indicates that the growth of The Domain has led to a slight uptick in the number of overall calls police take from the shopping center.

In 2014, police had 82 calls for service at The Domain and in 2015, the number jumped to 94 — approximately 20 percent of the calls were for hang-ups. So far in 2016, there have been 72 calls for service.

APD Senior Officer Costello told KXAN that officers see general property crime in the area.

“We have a lot of people parking their stuff here, their cars, leaving stuff in their cars because they’ve been shopping,” Costello said.

Costello said Austin police carry out a lot of high visibility patrols at the center, in vehicles and on foot. He also said staffing at the shopping center is highest in the evening hours.

“We do have the most officers out in this area during the evening time, so that would be your 2 p.m. to about 2 a.m., right around bar close time,” explained Costello.

The bottom line, Costello says, is public safety.

“We’d like to keep that area safe so that you know, more people can continue to enjoy themselves.”

Over the past several months, businesses have been moving in and opening up shop in the newest phase of the Domain: Domain NORTHSIDE. Whole Foods and HomeAway were some of the first businesses to call the new 304-acre development home. The Rock Rose section of the Domain now feels like a new West Sixth Street with familiar names such as Kung Fu Saloon and Dogwood.

Aj Coffee, the general manager of Domain NORTHSIDE said the center is all about lifestyle.

“This entire community is about where you can live, work, play, eat, anything you want to do,” Coffee said. “It’s what draws not only the residents that live here, but those who live near here to come to Domain Northside.”

Coffee told KXAN it’s a neighborhood, not a mall. Part of that, she says, is about ensuring safety.

“We want people to feel they’re safe here and therefore, with the garages, with the sidewalks, you walk comfortably.”

KXAN spoke with several residents of the apartment buildings inside the shopping center. They told us they do feel safe.

On Friday, Domain’s newest anchor store, Nordstrom, officially opened its doors in Domain NORTHSIDE. Nordstrom’s newest Austin location has 127,500 square feet of space and is a major upgrade compared to the Barton Creek Square Mall location that originally opened in 2003. The store features the company’s newest design concept which includes modern touches and more natural light.

Domain NORTHSIDE consists of 600,000 sq. feet of shops and restaurants, including Rock Rose, as well as five apartment buildings.

The Domain NORTHSIDE will have more than 80 stores by the end of 2016, and even more after the first of the New Year 2017.

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