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Neighbors excited for Restore Rundberg initiative

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TWC News: Neighbors excited for Restore Rundberg initiative
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With the help of a million dollar federal grant, the Austin Police Department has refocused its efforts on Rundberg Lane.

The neighborhood is home to many businesses, including the vision center where Sharon Furnish works.

"We've established ourselves, and if we picked up and moved, we would lose that business," Furnish, the manager of Royal Vision, said.

For that reason, relocating is simply not an option for many of the businesses along Rundberg, regardless of the known criminal activity.

“It's just a little more exposed now,” Furnish said. “It's been going on for so long. There's just more of it in the media now and we're becoming more aware of it."

Maria Martinez works for an insurance company a few buildings down from Furnish. She was unaware of the new drive to clean up the neighborhood.

"I'll do whatever it takes,” Martinez said. “Of course I care and I do want to do something for my community."

Martinez said that’s especially after hearing the news of the 13 year-old-girl who reported she was abducted in the area and raped by multiple men.

"That is really, really horrible,” Martinez said. “So how can I help? You know what else can I do?"

Senior Police Officer Rafael Kianes says there are a couple of things Rundberg neighbors can do.

"Call 911 when you see a situation. If you see a transient in the area or you see drug dealing or something like that. People tend to kind of just pass it by and say ‘Oh, this is Rundberg,’” he said. “If we take that attitude then it'll continue to happen."

Both Martinez and Furnish will continue to be on alert.

"The only thing you can do is be more aware, careful, and we've gotten to the point where when we're here by ourselves, a lot of the times the door is locked," Furnish said.

Officer Kianes says police will hold meetings every Tuesday to continue the discussion of how the community can address the problem. Click here for more information.

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