Insane World

Understaffed Austin police tells citizens to gather crime scene evidence themselves

A business owner in Austin, Texas says police told him to gather his own evidence at the scene of his burglarized store, saying it was due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Kirk Andrews, owner of Petticoat Fair Lingerie in north Austin said he called authorities after his shop had been robbed that he should put on gloves and search for bullet casings because police would not be able to assist due to the coronavirus.

“They got back on the phone with me and said that nobody would be coming out and said it was due to COVID restrictions, which didn’t make any sense to me,” Andrews said.

Andrews said 911 told him to call 311 where he was told to put on gloves and search for bullet casings and other evidence to give to police.

“That to me is extremely frustrating,” said Andrews.

Andrews says that his surveillance video showed a white car driving up to his store before a passenger shot out the window and grabbed clothing. The incident happened around 6:00am when no one was in the store.

Andrews added that his store has been burglarized multiple times and in the past he has been told by police that they “don’t have the manpower” to track down what they described as “shoplifters”.

In the past, Andrews said that police have taken two weeks to call him back and file a report after his store was robbed.

Austin police stopped sending sworn officers to certain calls where no immediate danger is involved on October 1 in order to allow uniformed officers to focus on serious calls and emergencies.

The city is currently plagued by a police shortage that Austin Police Chief Joseph Chacon has referred to as a “crisis.”

The staffing shortage was caused, in part, by the city’s move to strip funding from the police department and has coincided with a surge in crime that includes the murder rate rising over 90%.