North Campus uneasy after tire slashing suspect’s arrest

Lauren Giudice

Although Tommy Joe Kelley, who police think could be involved in hundreds of tire slashings around Hyde Park, has been arrested, many North Campus residents are still concerned about safety.

History senior Katie Carson said she is frustrated it took so long for police to catch Kelley. While visiting her boyfriend on 41st Street last May, someone slashed her tires.

“I thought that I had just run over something,” Carson said. “I went to a tire place and they said, ‘This was done by an ice pick.’”

According to Austin Police Department, Kelley used a long, thin piece of metal sharpened to a point to puncture tires.

For a long time, Carson did not park her car by her boyfriend’s apartment.

“I still have a feeling someone is going to come and slash my tires,” Carson said.

Nursing senior Justin Savino said the tire slashings are one of the reasons he is moving out of his North Campus apartment.

“I park in an apartment parking lot on Helms [Street] and Speedway,” Savino said. “The person who we park next to [had] all four of her tires [slashed]. She went out and bought new ones and the tire slasher came back and reslashed them.”

He said seeing his neighbor’s troubles really made him concerned about his car, so he asked his landlords to install cameras so the offender could be caught. They never did.

Savino said he is not concerned about copycats.

“My personal opinion is that tire slashing is a pastime and is probably caused by one mentally deranged individual doing something stupid,” Savino said. “Once you get him and put him away and [help his] mental health, you probably eliminate the problem.”

Lindsay Taylor, a public relations and government senior, said the Austin Police Department should keep North Campus residents more informed about potential safety issues.

“North Campus is a pretty neglected part of University life in general,” Taylor said. “Even though it is so far away from campus, a ton of students live there and keeping us more aware of situations like this is a really good idea.”

Communication studies junior Thomas Nguyen, who lives in North Campus, is mostly concerned about the safety of his car rather than his own personal safety.

“In general, it is pretty quiet in North Campus,” Nguyen said. “It’s a little shady sometimes. The buildings are older than West Campus and sometimes the conditions of the street and the alleys between the buildings seem a little sketchy, but overall I feel like it’s a decently safe place.”