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SAFETY FAIR - Nov (Sat 1a - 2p - Maplewood School
aaa bbb


- Mobilizing -

=APD Neighbotrhood Watch Program
   974-4736 < >
= APD crime incident reports, by ZIP or Assn.
=CNA Security CHAIR
    Lex Dale Owens , 477-6555 , 
   < >
=Plastic SIGNS
   More info [ html ] [ pdf ]
   approach to potentially interested neighbors)
   [ html ] [ pdf
=Electric Engraving TOOL
   For marking valuables (in conjunction with 
   "Operation Identification")
=Crime incidence DATABASE
   Search all episodes of criminal mischief posted
    to NeighborNet (Yahoo! registration req.)
= Fundraising ideas (Nat'l Sherrifs' Assn.)

- Implementing -

="Neighborhood Watch PRIMER"
=  Neighborhood Watch basics [ html ] [ pdf ] (CNA)
= 311  vs.  911

= When you leave home to travel (State Farm)
   - Notify the Post Office on-line to hold your mail
= Tips: Burglary (Discovery Channel)
= Tips: Burglary (State Farm)
= "TIPS: Burglary" (Ofc. Sherry)

= "TIPS: Identity Theft" (Ofc. Sherry) 
= "TIPS: Purse Snatching" (Ofc. Sherry) 
= "TIPS: Suspicious Activity"
(Ofc. Sherry)
= "TIPS: Vehicle Theft" (Ofc. Sherry)

= "Help End Auto Theft" (H.E.A.T. Program,
   TX Dept. of Public Safety) 

=Two centending theories:
- " Human Development" (Sampson, Raudenbush, & Earls)
- " Broken Windows" (Wilson & Kelling)

-- CNA's NW signs have arrived.  Hopefully a work party will gather one Saturday morning soon to install them around the Cherrywood perimeter.  Also, a few blocks have acquired their own signs.  Hopefully we will see a "bloom" shortly.
   The left column above ( Mobilizing ) is for blocks just getting organized or thinking about it.  The right column ( Implementing ) is content for NW participants.  The more of this stuff block "watchers" know, the more effective they will be.  We'll keep it up and add new material.

"THREE-ONE-ONE" (updated 04Dec18)
What is 3-1-1?

3-1-1 is a toll-free telephone number that allows people within the city limits to request police services in non-emergency situations. Since 3-1-1 is an easy-to-use and easy-to-remember non-emergency telephone system, it is a major improvement in how the Police Department serves residents and visitors to Austin. 

<> 3-1-1 allows people to request non-emergency police services more easily and allows the Austin Police Department to handle those requests more efficiently. 

<> 3-1-1 is a toll-free number. People can now use a mobile or pay phone-free of charge-to request both emergency (9-1-1) and non-emergency (3-1-1) police services. 

<> 3-1-1 will improve the City's Emergency 9-1-1 System. As more people call 3-1-1 for non-emergencies, 9-1-1 will be available for what it is designed to handle--real emergency situations. 

When to call 3-1-1? 
Call 3-1-1 to report incidents and situations that are non-emergencies, non-life threatening or not currently in progress. Use 3-1-1 to request information from the Police Department. 

Typical 3-1-1 calls include: 

<> Property crimes that are no longer in progress and the offender is no longer on the scene. (Examples are vandalism, theft, graffiti, stolen autos and garage burglaries.) 

<> Animal control problems. 

<> Illegally-parked vehicles or vehicles blocking alleys or driveways. 

<> Telephone numbers, addresses and hours of operation of the Police Department's divisions or programs. 

Who answers 3-1-1 calls? 
Highly-trained police call takers answer all 3-1-1 calls. The Austin Police Department's goal is to answer all calls for service in a timely and effective manner and to provide the appropriate response in all instances.  Wireless carriers MAY offer 311 service (or charge extra) -- check with with your provider. You can still dial the old non-emergency line 974-5750 to reach 311 dispatch. Some neighbors have experienced a delay of several minutes, probably when calls exceed operators.

When to call 9-1-1? 

Call 9-1-1 to report life-threatening incidents--crimes that are in progress and all serious or violent crimes. 

Typical 9-1-1 calls include:

<> Fire and medical emergencies. 
<> All violent crimes, such as homicides, robberies and sexual assaults. 
<> Domestic violence. 
<> Home or business intruders. 
<> Gunshots or person with a gun. 
<> Property crimes that are still in progress or where the offender is still on the scene. 
<> Vehicle accidents involving injury, major property damage or serious traffic tie-ups. 
<> If you are not sure what number to call, dial 9-1-1. 

What if I dial the wrong number? 
You will receive emergency assistance even if you call 3-1-1 by mistake. The people who answer 3-1-1 calls have the training and technology to handle any emergency call that would normally come to 9-1-1. 

Can I still call the Austin Police Department's main number? 
The Police Department's seven-digit non-emergency number (974-5750) remains in service, although most callers will find it easier to use 3-1-1. The main number will be available for people outside the city limits who have non-emergency requests for service. Calls received through the seven-digit number are answered by 3-1-1 call takers. 

Contact: Austin Police Department, Public Information Office, 974-5017 
E-mail < > or < >.

Mid-August update of Underwood bankruptcy
August 30, 2001
TO: Commander Johnson
FROM: Cherrywood NA
ON: 3709 Vineland.  Owner Erma Burnett (deceased) et. al., c/o George Underwood. 
  Recent action on Travis County property seizure and Underwood bankruptcy.

= = = 1 = = =
From G. Bennett
Wed, Aug 22

First, Sheila's report

From"Augusta, Sheila" <saugusta@AKINGUMP.COM> 
DateWed, 22 Aug 2001 173651 -0400

... Mr. Underwood again failed to appear at the creditors' [re-set section 341] meeting. On August 9, 2001, the [U.S. Bankruptcy] Court entered an Order dismissing his bankruptcy case without prejudice meaning that he can refile his case. In the meantime, he and his assets are unprotected against all creditors, including the Travis County Taxing Authority. 

Now, what to do next:

1. Sheila or Michael McClendon, 

- I'm wondering if allowing Underwood to refile like this is standard?  Or did this [Court] judge bend over backward to be lenient with the homeowner?  Did the judge even know that we and APD were fighting a crack house?  How long might this case sit in limbo waiting for Underwood's attorney to possibly refile? 

- What is the status of this earlier order from the same court (the same judge?)?  Is there any reason whatsoever for Travis County to wait until after December 5 to take the house?
-------------Court Order>------------------
"Should the debtor fail to attend the re-set section 341 meeting, then upon certification of such default by the Chapter 13 Trustee, this case will be dismissed without further notice of hearing.  It is therefore

"ORDERED that ... the Confirmation hearing is re-set to December 5, 2001 at 900 am....  It is further

"ORDERED that the case may be dismissed by the Certificate of Non-Compliance procedure stated above if the debtor defaults on the terms stated above."
-------------<Court Order------------------

2. Mike Damal,

- Do we need to light a fire under the County to seize this asset while it is unprotected?  What's the most productive way to do it?  I wouldn't count on them acting on their own without prodding.  They probably don't even know the asset is newly unprotected.

3. All,

- If utterly ANYONE in this process shows signs of dawdling, especial the County, what sort of pressure might we apply?
<> Commissioners?
<> Sheriff's Dept and/or APD (Cmdr Johnson?)
<> Management-level person at TCAD?

The iron has never been hotter, but it won't strike by itself!

= = = 2 = = =
From: "Michael Damal"
Date: Thu, Aug 23

I dont know exactly, but if Mr Underwood can refile his bankrupcy case, he might do that as soon as TCAD tried to take it away again, putting them in the same boat--in this case they may be reluctant to put the property on auction again.

= = = 3 = = =
From: "Augusta, Sheila"
Date: Thu, Aug 23

Since TCAD is required to give the taxpayer 30 days notice of any intent to auction the property, Mr. Underwood may very well refile his bankruptcy case to stay any proceedings against his property. If this occurs and the TCAD is persistent, they can request leave of Court to go forward with the auction. Since Texas is clearly a pro-homestead state, it is very unlikely that Judge Monroe will grant TCAD the relief requested unless they can convince the Court that Mr. Underwood's actions constitute an abuse of the protection afforded by the bankruptcy laws. 

= = = 4 = = =
From: "Augusta, Sheila"
Date: Thu, Aug 23

To answer your question
1) Yes, allowing Mr. Underwood to refile is standard. He can refile under Chap. 13 or Chap. 7. 
2) No Judge Monroe did not bend over backward to be lenient. Regardless of his unsavory character, Mr. Underwood also has the right to seek protection from his creditors. 
3) Mr. Underwood's attorney can refile at any time he pleases. It is likely that he will wait until the heat is on Mr. Underwood again. 
4) The case has been dismissed; the earlier Order is null and void. 
5) Since the case has been dismissed, December 5th is of no longer significant. There is no case pending and therefore, there will be no December 5, 2001 confirmation hearing. The case no longer exist, there is nothing to confirm. 

TCAD can initiate proceeding to take control of the property any time they want. They are required to give Mr. Underwood notice which he will probably respond to by filing a new bankruptcy case. This would entail obtaining a lawyer to prepare all the required documentation, paying another $200.00 filing fee, attending another creditors' meeting. If he fail to appear in any new case that he files, I can almost guarantee that it will be dismissed WITH PREJUDICE. 

= = = 5 = = =
From: "Augusta, Sheila"
Date: Thu, Aug 23

If TCAD can convince the Court that Mr. Underwood has no intention of paying his taxes or maintaining his homestead (i.e. current and valid homeowner's insurance), then maybe creditors will have a chance against him. Regardless of what the general public may think, bankruptcy is not a free ride. If Mr. Underwood refiles to halt any action by TCAD, then the neighbors need to start a letter writing campaign to the local U.S. Attorney's office. If it can be proven that Mr. Underwood's ownership of this property is a hazard to the public, then they just may be able willing to intervene. The U.S. Attorney has no jurisdiction until after he refiles his case.

= = = 6 = = =
From: G. Bennett
Date: Thu, August 23

Thank you, Sheila! I don't fully grasp all the fine points. But I'm beginning to see the big picture that creditors are almost helpless against a homestead. Underwood could never pay his taxes, operate an opium den, and run down an entire neighborhood with impunity as long as he continues to ask for postponements, refiles, etc.I still hope we can get the County to pursue this obvious exploiter of  The system. There's always a chance (1) he will miss a trick, or (2) Judge Monroe will decide his actions "constitute an abuse of the protection afforded by the bankruptcy laws." Your next message adds a (3):At 10:19 AM 8/23/2001 -0500, Augusta, Sheila wrote: TCAD can initiate proceeding to take control of the property any time they want. They are required to give Mr. Underwood notice which he will >probably respond to by filing a new bankruptcy case. This would entail >obtaining a lawyer to prepare all the required documentation, paying >another $200.00 filing fee, attending another creditors' meeting. If he fail to appear in any new case that he files, I can almost guarantee that it will be dismissed WITH PREJUDICE.

= = = 7 = = =
From: "Augusta, Sheila"
Date: Thu, Aug 23

I personally know the attorney that filed the previous case. I'll call him and inquire as to whether or not he think Mr. Underwood will refile and if so, when. He may tell me and he may not. It's worth a try. I'll let you know what happens.

Gun safety first, burglar protection second ( "Margaret Mills-Barrow" <>)
   I have just a few words to say about gun safety. Decreasing crime in our neighborhood is paramount, of course, but we do have to watch out for one another while we figure out ways to protect ourselves.

I've been around guns all my life and still practice with targets. There is no way to shoot a gun safely within the city limits unless you are shooting directly into soft dirt. Doing that to scare a burglar is understandable, but neighbors won't know that. Bullets come down as fast as they go up. A .45 is a large caliber bullet and can kill a bystander or go through someone's front door.

When living in a rural area I have called Sheriff's officers when neighbors shoot targets on a half-acre lot with no backstop, or their birdshot peppers me during dove season from over 200 yards away. It is nearly impossible for a projectile to stay within the property line of the shooter.

Please don't have a gun unless you know what it does and how to handle it safely. For inside burglers, shotguns make a huge noise even when you "rack" (or cock) them and will scare most anyone away, the scatter shot will hit an intruder even if you are a poor aim in the dark, and they won't penetrate your neighbor's homes like a bullet or cartrige will. Don't forget that even that "bump in the night" noise in your own home may be someone you know. There are lots of safety classes available. Please, let's not put one another at risk.

[From Detective Michael Sanford, Central-East] Mr. Owan, i wanted to update you on my current investigation. the witness was unable to pick out of a photo line up the suspects we believe are responsible for the burglaries in your area. i still feel confident that they are responsible for at least some of the thefts/burglaries but just do not have the evidence to prove it at this time. i do wish that you would pass to your neighbors the importance of recording serial numbers of property . sometimes the only evidence we have against someone is matching the items up by serial numbers when pawned or found in possession of people the property does not belong to. the biggest target lately in your area has been lawn tools and power tools. thank you. det. sanford
Meeting between Lt. John Colunga and Kathryn Jones, Jim Sander, Jim Walker, and Gordon Bennett to discuss action on the Vineland problem...


   ~ Asst. Police Chief Jimmy Chapman (Eastern sectors)
   ~ Commander Robert Dahlstrom (Central East Command - everything east of IH35 between Town Lake and 51st St + a few neighborhoods out toward Manor)
   ~ Lt. Cmdr. John Colunga (Dahlstrom's 2nd in command - supervises both DRs and Detectives)
   ~Sgt. Botello (District Rep [ DR ] supervisor)
   ~Officer Carlos Casas - DR for Delwood2, WilshireWood, Cherrywood, & Blackland)


An agreement to devise a workable action plan, then review it one week later, is most important - it results from Jim W's patient steering of the proceedings to that end...

   ~ Our part will be drafted by Jim S, Kathy J, and Jim W

   ~We will meet again July 19 to review the draft with Lt. Colunga

   ~ We undertake to:
        - Make clear what we expect to happen with this property
        - Report whether the Travis Co Prosecutors Office has a case open
        - Report what's needed to bring a civil nuisance complaint
        - Report the 911 log on this address 
        - Supply Ofc. Casas with all information Jim S has collected
        - Report the status of TCAD's tax enforcement 

   ~ Lt. Colunga undertakes to:
        - Talk to Ofc. Casas, move this problem up the priority ladder
        - Gather various strands (filed separately) into one case file
        - Help coordinate DR and Detectives working on it
        - Report if any (even occasional) resident at the property has a Parole Officer
        - Report if the Health Dept has responded to complaints
        - Review possible ways to arrange better surveillance
        - Run license plates of observed visitors


   In CNA's view this simmering situation progressing to a boil is a priority.  In Lt Colunga's view, having just recently come on the job and relying on what's in the files, it was a trifle.

   An important CNA role here is to present the address as a single problem with several sides, not several problems.  >APD's DR, >APD detectives, >APD records, >911, >the City Health Dept, >Travis Counter prosecutor, >Travis County tax district, >a court's Parole Officer, and >a couple of welfare agencies all have problems with this house they don't automatically share with one another.

   In this light it may not be surprising that Lt. Colunga came with the idea we were unduly upset about someone throwing a rock.  Now he has heard about the characters who occasionally stay there, the drug dealing every pay day, the involvement of neighborhood kids, the threatening language, and the data trails there are to follow, probably he will never again suggest we "kick around some new ideas," propose we "sit down with these guys and talk things over," urge us to get their owner-father to "come up to Austin and sign an agreement to operate the property in a good-neighborly way," or feel compelled to remind us "our country has a Constitution - we can't just go out and arrest people."  Probably we're beyond this now.

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