While any crime in a civil society is unacceptable, crimes will occur as long as the human element exists. The challenge is to deter crime by employing preventive measures and deploying a strong punitive system of remedies for the offender. Ideally, such measures will deter first-time offenders from committing crime and reduce recidivism for those considering re-offending.

Law enforcement and judicial programs are proven to reduce criminal activity, but they are largely ineffective without the strong support, cooperation and vigilance of the citizenry. We must be involved.

I believe that citizenry vigilance could have played a positive role in preventing the theft, or identifying the thief of air conditioning units, which has plagued our city in recent weeks.

This week alone, four such thefts were reported, added to the three previous reports in the past two weeks. This is a troubling upward trend.

My experience tells me these thefts are committed by more than one person, acting in concert with others to dispose of the stolen units, most likely in another jurisdiction.

As the price of copper remains high, the sale of it reaps favorable dividends for the seller. These units could be destined for the scrap yard. Managers and employees of scrap metal processing facilities should be cognizant of anyone attempting to sell inordinate quantities of coiled copper tubing from the outdoor evaporative units, and report that information to police.

troubling trend

Also continuing on an upward trend this week were reports of assaults causing bodily injury, family violence. Two such crimes were reported this week, added to the four incidents reported during the previous two weeks. This is indeed a troubling trend.

These cases are not merely family arguments, although they may have begun that way. No. These are physical altercations between family members, during which one or more of the involved parties sustain injuries. This trend must reverse course.

A single report of the burglary of a vehicle sustains the welcomed downward trend in this category of crime. I predict, however, that as the summer progresses, we will see a resurgence of this crime. I hope my prediction is wrong.

Residents can ensure that I’m wrong by removing valuables from vehicles when unattended and leaving no valuables in plain view at any time. Parking in well-lit areas will cinch the deal.

identity theft

Another report of identity theft raised its ugly head this week, maintaining this crime in an upward trend category. It is widely believed in the identity theft prevention industry that this crime cannot be completely stopped. Maybe so, but you can avoid becoming a victim by protecting your personal information and providing it only to those you completely trust.

Social media has become a huge harvest of personal information for identity thieves. Be extremely wary of anyone who requests personal information from you even for social media purposes. As little as your name and date of birth are sufficient to enable a thief to begin the process of becoming you.

credit card abuse

Two crimes of credit card abuse were reported this week, both from residential areas. Such crimes are committed by someone using another’s credit card for personal gain, without the approval of the owner. Protect your credit card as you would money. It is money.

Another case of forgery of a government document was reported this week. This is the fourth such crime in as many weeks. When an applicant provides false information on a government document for a government program, a crime is committed. If convicted, the criminal could face state or federal remedies.

Thefts of tools, clothing, computer equipment and a truck tailgate were reported this week as well.

Finally, our requisite case of possession of marijuana maintained the status quo.

Thirteen more Coryell County and Copperas Cove defendants accused in sealed indictments for controlled substance crimes accepted plea agreements with the Coryell County District Attorney this week.

This was a long overdue blow to the methamphetamine trade in our city. Hopefully, it was serve as a deterrent to future crimes of this nature.

John Vander Werff is a 30-year veteran of law enforcement and a Copperas Cove resident.​

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