The title of this column since its inception has been crime trends, but what is a crime trend?

The legal definition is a significant change in the nature of selected crime categories within a specifically defined geographical area and time period. In short, it is the measure of significant changes in an area’s crime pattern over time.

We have certainly seen this over the past several years in Copperas Cove.

Much of it is the result of population growth and the influx of more retail and financial facilities, which give the perpetrators of all categories of crime more opportunities to transgress.

Some of the responsibility lies with the state of the economy, but in my humble opinion, not much of it. In good times and bad, there are legitimate opportunities for gainful employment to anyone who has the energy, gumption and desire to seek it out. It may not be the type of work one desires in the long term, but honest work is available to anyone who wants it. Entry-level jobs can support a person while education is acquired to facilitate moving up in the world of commerce.

Unfortunately, there are those among us who choose the easy path rather than the legitimate one. These poor substitutes for humanity will invariably target the possession and wealth of those who have earned it, rather than expend the effort to earn it in a legitimate manner.

For example, when it first raised its ugly head a few short years ago, fraudulent use/possession of identifying information, or identity theft, as it’s commonly known, has morphed from a relatively obscure and rare occurrence to one of worrisome frequency.

Every week several of these crimes occur in Cove, perpetrated by  neer-do-wells who prey upon the good name of decent, hard-working folks who have taken a lifetime to build good credit and a good name. The damage these people do soars beyond the financial aspect of the crime, to perpetrating irreparable damage to the victim’s credit score and reputation.

During 2015, thefts in Cove increased by an estimated 20 percent over 2014. Indeed, the increase in Cove retail outlets gives the thief more targets of opportunity, as do more residences and storage buildings. More high-end housing presents appealing targets for thieves looking for an easy score of merchandise which can be converted to cash.

The year’s most profound crime trend increase was in assaults of all kinds, the most notably in the category of domestic violence. This trend is heartbreaking in the scope of its damage and destruction to the family unit and the reputation of Copperas Cove. 2015 saw an increase in this category of crime of nearly 25 percent over previous years. I lay responsibility for this trend directly on the perpetrators of the crime and cite immaturity, intolerance and excessive alcohol consumption as contributors.

2015 saw a large number of illegal substance possession and delivery cases and a considerable number of arrests and successful prosecutions for this crime. As long as there remains a demand for this poison, there will be opportunists who will take advantage of the demand by delivering a supply. I personally wish a pox on these suppliers and the weak-willed users who have other, more mature choices.

Assaults

Nine assaults were reported this week, five of which involved family violence. It is a confirmed fact that nationally more than half of all domestic violence crimes go unreported. The reasons for this phenomenon are myriad. Reason No. 1 is the victim’s reluctance to sever financial support by having the perpetrator arrested. Some want to preserve the family unit at any cost. In many of these cases, the cost is far too high.

  • An assault with bodily injury/family violence was reported Dec. 13 in the 300 block of Easy Street.
  • An aggravated assault with a deadly weapon was reported Dec. 14 in the 500 block of Lincoln Avenue.
  • An assault by contact/family violence was reported Dec. 15 in the 100 block of West Business U.S. Highway 190.
  • An assault with bodily injury/family violence was reported Dec. 16 in the 500 block of Sunset Lane.
  • A second assault with bodily injury/family violence was reported Dec. 16 in the 500 block of Sunset Lane.
  • An assault on the elderly/disabled was reported Dec. 16 in the 1300 block of High Chaparral Drive. Assault on the elderly or disabled is a felony crime.
  • An assault by contact/family violence was reported Dec. 17 in the 1000 block of Gilmore Street.
  • An assault with bodily injury was reported Dec. 17 in the 800 block of North First Street.
  • A sexual assault of a child was reported Dec. 17. Location is omitted to protect the identity of the victim.

Theft/burglary

Fifteen thefts and burglaries were reported this week, up five from last week. Historically, thefts increase in December and during mid-summer.

  • An attempted burglary of a residence was reported Dec. 13 in the 100 block of Mandy Circle.
  • A theft of a cellphone was reported Dec. 13 in the 800 block of Little Street.
  • The theft of a Play Station, games and government documents was reported Dec. 13 in the 1200 block of Urbantke Court. The victim of this theft should be concerned about identity theft and take steps to prevent it.
  • A theft of currency was reported Dec. 13 in the 1200 block of South Third Street.
  • A second report of theft of currency was made Dec. 13 in the 1200 block of South Third Street.
  • A bicycle was reported stolen Dec. 13 in the 1100 block of Golf Course Road. Multiple bicycles have been reported stolen on Golf Course Road in recent weeks. Residents in this area should heed the “take-it, hide-it, lock-it” philosophy.
  • A silverware set valued at $12,000 was reported stolen Dec. 14 in the 1300 block of Eagle Trail.
  • The theft of makeup was reported Dec. 15 from a retailer in the 2700 block of East Business U.S. Highway 190.
  • The theft of a Play Station game system, games and a controller was reported Dec. 15 in the 800 block of North Second Street.
  • A bicycle was reported stolen Dec. 15 in the 900 block of Dryden Avenue.
  • A snow globe was reported stolen Dec. 16 in the 800 block of South 19th Street.
  • The burglary of a building was reported Dec. 18 in the 300 block of South First Street.
  • An attempted burglary of a residence was reported Dec. 13 in the 800 block of North First Street.
  • The theft of a wallet and currency was reported Dec. 17 inn the 2900 block of East Business U.S. Highway 190.
  • A bicycle was reported stolen Dec. 17 in the 800 block of North Third Street.

Other crimes

  • Criminal mischief was reported Dec. 14 in the 500 block of Ridge Street.
  • Criminal mischief was reported Dec. 14 in the 500 block of Clara Drive.
  • Criminal mischief was reported Dec. 14 in the 600 block of Hill Street.
  • Criminal mischief was reported Dec. 15 in the 1200 block of West Avenue B.
  • Criminal mischief was reported Dec. 17 in the 400 block of North Main Street
  • Criminal mischief was reported Dec. 17 in the 1800 block of Indian Camp Trail.
  • Possession of marijuana in a drug-free zone was reported Dec. 16 in the 700 block of Sunny Avenue.
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia was reported Dec. 15 in the 100 block of West Business U.S. Highway 190.
  • Fraudulent use/possession of identifying information was reported Dec. 16 in the 1000 block of South 25th Street.
  • Fraudulent use/possession of identifying information was reported Dec. 14 in the 500 block of South 11th Street.
  • Fraudulent use/possession of identifying information was reported Dec. 17.
  • Debit card abuse was reported Dec. 14 in the 900 block of Willowbrook Street.
  • Debit card abuse was reported Dec. 17 in the 300 block of Lincoln Avenue.
  • Forgery of a government document was reported Dec. 15 in the 1100 block of South Farm-to-Market Road 116.
  • Forgery of a government document was reported Dec. 15th in the 2700 block of East Business U.S. Highway 190.
  • Forgery of a government document/money was reported Dec. 15 in the 300 block of Cove Terrace.

John Vander Werff is a 30-year veteran of law enforcement, with a decade in city and county law enforcement and 20 years with state police.

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

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