APD unlikely to open Guadalupe Street substation despite suggestions from students

Allyson Waller

Online comments posted on UT Police Department’s social media last month urged the Austin Police Department to consider creating a substation on Guadalupe Street in response to recent crimes. However, APD currently has no plans to bring a Guadalupe substation to fruition, APD Commander Andy Michael said in an email. 

Last month on Guadalupe Street, APD said there was a robbery at a Subway restaurant in Dobie Mall. A few days later, APD said an unidentified male pulled down the pants and underwear of a female UT student. UTPD then received comments on their Facebook page suggesting APD have a permanent substation on Guadalupe Street. 

Michael said a substation on Guadalupe Street is not feasible at the moment. 

“Even if a business were to donate available (retail) space for a satellite location, as well as all the infrastructure required, such as computers, networking, etcetera, we do not have the staffing or resources to assign officers to such a location,” Michael said. 

APD’s main headquarters is located about two miles away from the UT campus on East 8th Street. The nearest city substation is located about four miles away on Springdale Road. 

Although West Campus, which is under APD’s jurisdiction, has a high population density compared to other parts of the city, the area is relatively safe, Michael said. 

“The West Campus area is statistically a very safe area and the calls for service are generally not as high as they are in other parts of the city,” Michael said. “I do have officers assigned to that area 24 hours a day, oftentimes on foot or bicycles, so any calls for service are dispatched as quickly as possible.”

Ben Hurbrough, a management and information systems junior, said he sees the benefits of a Guadalupe substation although he does not live close to West Campus.

“I do frequently walk through (West Campus) to go to different restaurants or go meet friends, (and) I definitely wouldn’t consider the area a safe neighborhood,” Hurbrough said.

Hurbrough said he understands the responsibility that’s necessary for APD to open another city substation, but would like to see UTPD or APD implement other ways to address off–campus crime. 

“I think in the meantime simple security cameras can be set up to monitor the area,” Hurbrough said. “Having signs saying, ‘UTPD cameras recording’ would be incredibly beneficial on the Drag and parts of West Campus to increase safety and help people feel
more comfortable.”

APD and UTPD frequently work together to share information regarding off–campus crime, said David Carter, UTPD chief of police. 

“I think it’s better today than it’s ever been in terms of information–sharing between APD (and) UTPD,” Carter said.

Michael said APD officers are readily equipped to respond to emergency incidents, despite concerns.

“Any available resources we have are better used assigned to patrol in a mobile function,” Michael said. “(APD) officers have everything they need to do their jobs readily available to them inside their vehicles, which keeps them mobile and ready to respond to emergencies should the need arise.”