Since the beginning of April, Copperas Cove police made more than 30 arrests, some on arrest warrants for previously committed crimes and some by alert patrol officers in the course of their duties.
Arrests in the city are, however, a double-edged sword. On one side, we see that criminals are being apprehended for their crimes. On the other, it reminds us that there is more crime than we would like to see in Copperas Cove and the surrounding community.
It has been statistically proven that remedies (penalties) for crimes are effective deterrents to crime and that is one of the reasons they exist. Another, of course, is to punish offenders, which is intended to be a deterrent to re-offending.
There is a direct correlation between trends in crime and the number of arrests made by police for those crimes. That is to say that arrests make the cost of doing business for the potential criminal sufficiently high as to deter him or her from committing the crime in the first place, and for the established criminal, high enough to make him or her reconsider before re-offending. This theory, while feasible and somewhat effective, does not always work.
Of course, there are those criminals who accept prison sentences as a part of doing business and after release from prison, they continue with business as usual. It is for these individuals the severity of punishment is tied directly to the number of previous convictions, increasing incrementally with each new conviction.
Texas is one of the states that have the “three strikes and you’re out” provision in the statutes. This means the state’s attorney can seek a sentence of from 25 years to life in prison for a conviction for the commission of the third felony.
Such a sentence essentially takes that type of criminal off the streets for a considerable length of time, if not permanently. The length of a sentence depends on the severity of the crime and the judgment of the presiding judge and jury.
This week, several thefts were reported to police, one of which involved a substantial theft from a local department store, committed by a criminal from out of state, one with multiple arrest warrants from that state. In another, a Samsung tablet was taken and in a third theft, money was stolen. The last theft reported was of a wallet.
Once again, a Copperas Cove resident was arrested for soliciting minors online. This crime is becoming far too prevalent in Cove. Of course, one of these crimes is too many.
In the solicitation for which this man was arrested, he is accused of attempting to arrange a meeting with the victim. Had he been successful in his quest, the result could have been disastrous for the victim and the victim’s family.
The investigation of this crime disclosed this man solicited two other minors in the same manner. The shocker here is that all three victims were under the age of 14. Any additional sexual crime that could have ensued would have been an aggravated offense because of the ages of the victims.
Parents and guardians of minor children are responsible for their actions and must involve themselves in the children’s online activities in an effort to prevent this type of predator from successfully targeting their children.
Preventing this kind of potential tragedy is certainly worth the effort.
Fourteen vehicle and residential burglaries occurred in Copperas Cove in a single day this week. From vehicles, most of them left unlocked and unattended, items of value left in plain view were stolen. This is becoming an alarming trend in Copperas Cove. For goodness sake, residents, lock your vehicles and remove valuables!
Cove is rapidly gaining on our neighboring cities for the title of burglary capitol of Central Texas, a title we neither need nor want. Residents are the key to reducing this crime. This can only be accomplished by exercising common sense and making a little effort.
Anyone having information about these or any other crimes are encouraged to contact the appropriate authorities.
John Vander Werff is a 30-year veteran of law enforcement and a Copperas Cove resident.