Wish List: YWCA Hopes to Strengthen Security After Burglary

The urgency to give rings true now more than ever

YWCA Greater Austin staffers refused to have their holiday spirit stolen after they returned from Thanksgiving to find their facility burglarized.

The YWCA Greater Austin is asking for community support after its facility was burglarized. (Photo by Montinique Monroe)

The burglary occurred on Nov. 26 at the YWCA offices at 2015 S. I-35, according to the incident report. An investigator was called to the scene to interview the complainant and examine the scene for finger prints. The Young Women's Christian Association, which is on the Chronicle’s Wish List of local nonprofits, lost thousands of dollars in cash, donation checks, keys, and damaged property. The case remains still under investigation by Austin Police.

Angela-Jo Touza-Medina, executive director at YWCA Greater Austin, said the burglary was a sad event to return to after the Thanksgiving holiday. The facility has had to replace all of its locks around the office and issue new keys to staff at a cost of about $2000.

“It’s not exactly what they took that’s hard: It’s recovering from it; it’s everything that has to be put in place; it’s the aftermath of the event that creates all of the expenses,” said Daphne Garza, operations manager.

There is no surveillance footage of the incident, which could make it difficult for APD to investigate. Touza-Medina said her priority remains ensuring the safety of her staff and clients by immediately increasing surveillance around the facility. That's a costly job unfortunately, which is why the YWCA is asking for continuous community support.

Operations manager Daphne Garza activates and assigns key cards after a burglary at the YWCA Greater Austin. (Photo by Montinique Monroe)

The YWCA has received an outpouring of support and more than $1000 in donations. Its immediate needs are cameras or surveillance systems, three tall filing cabinets, a two-person reception desk with locking compartments, and a bolt-down safe. The organization always welcome food, monetary, and gift card donations, too.

“We’re fortunate that people have been responsive and donations have been trickling in, but it hasn’t suffice to cover the loss or the changes that we’re going to have to make now to secure our environment,” Touza-Medina said.

The organization strives to eliminate racism, empower women, stand up for social justice, help families, and strengthen communities, according to its mission. It provides life skills training, individual and group counseling, and crime victim assistance. Touza-Medina said that there remains concern about how the current political climate could affect the organization.

“Maybe there’s a reason we need to become, in the greater scheme of things, even more secure than we already were,” she said. “Because, you know, sometimes we get into this false sense of complacency – everything is fine.”

Touza-Medina said that she and her staff have learned they need to guarantee more security and they need help from the community in order to do it – not temporarily but in the long haul.

“We hope that people will become engaged, because the work that we do now is more relevant than it has ever been,” she said.

Replacing every lock in the YWCA offices was a top priority. (Photo by Montinique Monroe)

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YWCA Greater Austin, Angela-Jo Touza-Medina, Daphne Garza, Young Women's Christian Association

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