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Alcohol ban hits an Austin hotspot: Touted as a crime-fighting tactic

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Barton Springs Spillway
A new alcohol ban at Barton Springs Spillway was announced Wednesday. Courtesy of edwardsaquifer.net

An alcohol ban is now in effect at the Barton Springs Spillway. Starting on Tuesday, the Austin Police Department began cracking down on — and ticketing — visitors who are consuming alcohol.

The Austin Police Department and the Austin Parks and Recreation Department announced the new ban on alcohol consumption in August. Those caught drinking alcohol at the spillway, which is located downstream from Barton Springs Pool, could pay a fine of up to $500.

In August, Austin police also began enforcing existing ordinances that ban smoking in the park and require dogs to be on leashes at all times. There is also a swimming ban at the spillway, but the Parks Department isn't actively enforcing that at this time. In fact, the department will work with the City Council to officially allow swimming in the future.

A 40 percent spike in crime-related activities near the spillway has occurred over the past six months. This includes nearly two dozen thefts of wallets and purses in July alone, as well as increased drug-related activities and excessive alcohol use. Austin police hope the new rules and greater enforcement will slow the crime bump.  

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