AUSTIN, Texas - A Northwest Austin convenience store is fed up after dealing with an uptick in burglaries and shoplifters.
They said when they report these incidents to 911, they’re transferred to 311 and it could take hours for someone to respond.
"I’ve lived here all my life and we are living in fear now," said Linh Tu, who owns a gas station off Research Boulevard that was recently burglarized, something he said is happening more often than in the past. "My store has been dealing with a lot of shoplifting on a weekly basis and we’ve been burglarize multiple times in the last two months."
One of his concerns is when he called for help, like with this previous burglary. "We called 911 and they ask us if anybody was harmed or injured and you tell them no, they automatically forward you to 311 to file a case report," said Tu.
In October the Austin Police Department urged residents to call 311 instead of 911 it comes to what they consider non-emergency cases. This means police won’t immediately respond if the suspect is no longer on scene or there is no threat any person or property.
In the past Tu said it would take an officer about five minutes to arrive after an incident happened now with this new system he’s not sure if or when police will respond. "This last time the guy climbed the fence, he’s in a store for over five minutes taking his time picking what he wants that’s what made me angry," said Tu.
Even his employees are concerned with how things are now. "It’s really frustrating because you don’t know if something could be going down but help doesn’t come when you need it," said Keyon Ward.
Tu said he does not like the new response system and hopes the city makes some changes. "We pay the price, that’s the problem. Citizens, small business owners, we are paying the price for the safety of our customers. I’ve never seen Austin like this and I never thought Austin would become this city."
FOX 7 Austin reached out to APD in regards to these cases, they tell us they have no leads to follow up on when it comes to suspects. They’re classifying these thefts as a class C misdemeanor.