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Austin 311 ‘miscommunication’ regarding police response timeline leaves caller in the dark

AUSTIN (KXAN) — With non-emergency police reports showing longer wait times, a 311 caller said she wishes the operator had told her it would be weeks, not hours, for detectives to call him.

On Nov. 20, Dixie Evatt of southwest Austin said she called 311 to report a car theft after she unknowingly locked her car the night before.

“It was raining and I probably pressed the wrong button instead of the lock,” she said.

She was less concerned about the stolen items, which included a clock, a handicap card, an umbrella and some money. But she wants to have a better idea of ​​what to expect after reporting the crime.

“I called 311…and they said someone would be in touch within 12 hours,” she said. She waited 12 hours to be called back. “She said…probably no one will come for a few weeks.”

We contacted 311 and the Austin Police Department (APD) about this call.

A 311 spokesperson told KXAN in an email that “APD has a 12-hour follow-up response for vehicle thefts in response to APD’s non-emergency request to the police reporting department.” , and confirmed that the recipient provided this information to Evatt. 311 declared operation The provider must also inform the caller that the DPA can call back outside of this time.

The entity said it “will work hard to educate our ambassadors to ensure that this type of misunderstanding between 3-1-1 ambassadors and the people of Austin does not happen again.”

The APD said Evatt’s report remained in the queue “awaiting assignment” and that “due to staffing levels, callers were experiencing longer than normal wait times when ‘they were filing a police report via 3-1-1’.

The department responds to reports based on priority. As noted earlier, this structure helps to shorten police response times to emergencies and violent crimes.

Ewart said she knew where her case was on the priority list.

“Agents have to focus on a lot of things,” she said. “Fortunately, thank God, I don’t have many valuables in the car.”

But she still hopes the city will come up with a system to get 311 reports faster.

Police say home surveillance or cellphone footage can be a valuable asset in such investigations, particularly if the cameras capture license plate numbers.

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