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Austin police ask robbery victims to call 311 amid staffing shortage, crime crisis

Austin Police Department asks residents to call the non-emergency 311 number if they become victims of robberies amid departmental struggles with understaffing and crime.

Austin police in Texas are asking residents to call 311 if they get robbed near an ATM as the department struggles amid an increase in urban crime and staffing shortages.

The Austin Police Department posted a graphic in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, to urge residents to call 311 or make an online report if they're robbed – 311 is a number usually used for non-emergency requests, as opposed to 911.

"Even if you are cautious & follow all the safety advice, you may still become the unfortunate victim of a robbery," the Austin Police Department wrote on X. "Do you know what your next steps should be?"

"Make a police report & provide as much information as possible so we can recover your property quickly and safely," the post added. The graphic included advice to mention the bank in the 311 report and include the date and time of the cash withdrawal.

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The new protocol comes as the Texas capital grapples with an increase in crime. Compared to 2020, Austin has had a 77% increase in auto thefts, an 18% increase in aggravated assaults and a 30% increase in murders.

Austin Police Association President Thomas Villarreal told "Fox & Friends" in August that the department is sorely lacking the resources it needs to tackle crime.

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"We're a growing city, a city that should be up around 2,000 officers and growing right now," Villarreal said. "I've got about 1,475 officers in our police department and, you know, we're moving in the wrong direction. There's less and less and less resources to go out and do the job."

"I've got detectives who are pulled away from their caseload to just help answer 911 calls because we just don't have the resources to adequately police the city," the union president added.

Fox News Digital's Taylor Penley contributed to this report.

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