AUSTIN, Texas — A new report from the Austin Police Department says the number of crimes involving the use of cellphones, cameras and cameras in Austin has nearly doubled since 2015.
The report by the department’s Public Information Officer shows the total number of arrests for such crimes has doubled from 12,974 in 2015 to 14,854 in 2019.
It also notes there were 1,056 calls made to 911 last year from citizens reporting crimes related to cellphones.
While that may not sound like a lot, the police department says the numbers represent a rise of 2,722 calls for service during the same time period.
Police say the numbers are up because of a recent increase in crime in the area, including robberies and assaults, as well as drug-related crimes.
Officers say the increase in crimes is attributable to the city being more accessible to the public and increased awareness.
One reason that crime has increased is because of increased technology in Austin, the report states.
Austin police department’s new statistics show a 2.5 percent increase in cell phone crimes since 2015, but a 4.6 percent increase among burglaries.
“The department has taken proactive steps to reduce crime, and we are seeing that through increased police presence, increased enforcement efforts, and a number of initiatives that target those who commit these crimes,” Police Chief Art Acevedo said in a statement.
Echoing the city’s message, Acevedos office in the fall launched a “Be Smart” program in which officers wear “smart shoes, smart clothes and smart headphones” in a bid to reduce the spread of crime.
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