An open letter to the Austin Police Department.

To Whom it May Concern:

I’ve reached that stage in grief when you’re just disappointed. Call me the Charlie Browniest, but the Austin Police Department, particularly the Burglary Unit, is the source of such disappointment. Let me explain.

Last Thursday night, I came out of my dance class off 183 South to find that my front passenger window had been shattered, and items had been stolen from my Jeep. Aside from being upset about the materialistic loss, I was scared. How could someone do this?

I was told, from other managers in the area, that unfortunately, the area sees break-ins like mine all the time, and there was really “nothing” that could be done.

Even though I was shaking, I knew there wasn’t much anyone would do (or really, could do) to help me. So, I called 3-1-1, Austin’s police number for non-emergency situations. I spoke with a customer service representative who then put me on hold to wait for a police officer. After waiting a few minutes, she said there were simply “no police” that could help me at that time.

As a consolation, she said to expect a call from a police officer within 24 hours, and they only call once, so I had better answer it.

Well, here we are, a week later, and I’ve yet to receive my phone call.

Um, hi Austin PD, it’s me, a citizen of your city, who deserves a fucking phone call.

I did not expect anyone to come look at my car, or take pictures, or get fingerprints, but when you say you’ll call, I do expect that.

Because yes, I lost a window, and I lost some valuable items from my car, but more importantly, I’m scared shitless. I haven’t been to dance class since. I triple check the locks on my apartment door before going to bed. I cleaned out my car so that there’s nothing left to be taken. I hover over my purse in the grocery.

I’m new to your city, and I can’t explain how disheartening it is to be welcomed with not only a heartless crime, but to be spat in the face by being ignored. What’s worse? I’m your literal neighbor. I see the police station every morning when I drive to work — yeah, I work, and pay taxes. Shocking.

I know you’re busy. I know there are other crimes you’d rather take care of — like texting and driving.

But, if I may offer my advice, here goes. Life is all about balance. Mix it up a little. A quick Google search shows that I’m not the only one in this city who’s gone ignored after a break-in.

I’ve been in Public Relations and Marketing for almost eight years. I’m still learning, but there’s a lot of shit out there swirling around about police behavior. In general, I think it’s smart to believe that people are good.

But actions really do speak louder than words. Why didn’t you call? Ever? What about customer service? I even reached out via Twitter, and got radio silence. It’s downright rude. Hell, get an intern if you’re too busy hanging out at VooDoo donuts.

Maybe what we see on the news is correct — police officers are just pompous jerks in uniform.

What’s really sad isn’t what happened to me, and it’s not the fact that the economy will hurt from the crime here, it’s that those hired to protect us can go to bed at night knowing they don’t give a damn.

Must be nice.


Holly A. Phillips

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