Since the beginning of September, more than 35 assaults were reported to police in Copperas Cove, including 11 this week. Many more have gone unreported, for reasons known only to the assailant and victim.

If these numbers do not concern you, they should. Each of us who call Cove home has a stake in the society we have chosen to raise our families in.

What has happened in Cove to so drastically change the face of civility in a few short years? My guess is demographics. Years ago, when Cove was half its present size, the population was largely retired military with growing families. It was indeed the “city for family living,” as the city motto suggests.

Upon my arrival in Cove over 30 years ago, military colleagues told me that if one wanted to raise hell, one should live in Killeen, but if one wanted to raise a family, one should reside in Copperas Cove. For those reasons, I opted for Cove.

Now, it seems, the demographics have changed with the influx of younger families, some of whom still have wild oats to sow and less experience and maturity to guide them. Yes, I know, times change.

What doesn’t change, however, is that violence breeds violence. It is contagious. Household member abuse is handed down from elder to younger by bad example. Children who observe even occasional abuse patterns by parents begin to believe that such actions are acceptable and part of life.

Worse, children who are the victims of abuse tend to become abusers themselves, thereby proliferating the cycle of abuse.

Am I a psychologist? No. I do, however, have considerable classroom hours in the study of psychology and physiology as well as continuing education in these fields to obtain and maintain both my master peace officer and polygraph examiner’s licenses. These alone do not qualify anyone to offer an opinion on the causes and qualifiers regarding the reasons one human being will physically assault another. No, indeed, classroom learning cannot satisfy the many intricacies of that discipline.

The education I rely on regarding assaultive behavior comes from the knowledge and experience acquired from 30 years of responding to, defusing and investigating a multitude of bar brawls, street fights, disagreements that become violent and uncountable family violence incidents. Family violence incidents are the most volatile and by far the most dangerous for everyone involved.

In all of these, the cause of the incident is key to defusing tensions and resolving the differences, which catalyzed the initial confrontation.

In my experience, the reasons couples battle and ultimately separate are (but not limited to) money, sex, apathy and undiagnosed mental issues. In the majority of these incidents, alcohol is the catalyst.

On a municipal level, in an effort to combat our deplorable assault statistics, we must present a united front against such behavior and take steps to reduce these incidents.

On a personal level, some among us need to grow up. Settle interpersonal disputes maturely by talking them out, rather than slugging them out. Keep alcohol out of the equation. It makes otherwise intelligent people do stupid things.

Assaults

Of the 11 assaults reported this week, nine involved family violence. Ouch!

  • An assault with bodily injury/family violence was reported Sept. 15 in the 200 block of Wagon Train Circle.
  • An assault by contact/family violence was reported Sept. 16 in the 900 block of Traci Drive.
  • An assault by contact/family violence was reported Sept. 19 at an apartment complex on Bowden Avenue.
  • Two incidents of assault by contact/family violence were reported Sept. 19 in the 1400 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.
  • Two counts of assault with bodily injury/family violence were reported Sept. 19 on Judy Lane.
  • Two separate counts of assault by contact/family violence were reported Sept. 19 in the 3400 block of Plateau Street.
  • An assault with bodily injury was reported Sept. 18 in the 1100 block of South Third Street.
  • An aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and kidnapping were reported Sept. 18 in the 1200 block of Craig Street. If one person restricts the movements of another and moves the victim so much as an inch, the charge is kidnapping. Both of these crimes are felonies.

Thefts/burglary

Five thefts and one burglary were reported this week. While any theft is unacceptable, these numbers are a welcome relief from the high numbers in recent weeks. This is a seasonal, end-of-summer downturn and the lull before the storm. Unfortunately, as the holiday season draws near, thefts in all categories will increase.

  • The theft of jewelry valued at $2,700 was reported Sept. 15 in the 300 block of Hogan Drive.
  • The theft of a dog valued at $2,800 was reported Sept. 15 in the 1100 block of South 23rd Street. The monetary value of this theft is inconsequential if the dog is the family pet. Shame on this thief.
  • A cellphone was reported stolen Sept. 15 in the 1100 block of Golf Course road.
  • Two street signs were reported stolen Sept. 18 in the 1200 block of West Avenue B.
  • A lawnmower was reported stolen Sept. 20 in the 700 block of Mary Street. I hope the thief uses the stolen booty to clean up his yard and then gets caught with it.
  • A burglary of a habitation was reported Sept. 19 in the 800 block of Park Avenue. An electric wheelchair valued at $2,000 was stolen. This crime is lowdown, even for a thief.

Other crimes

Three reports of criminal mischief were reported this week. Apparently, destructive immaturity persists.

  • Criminal mischief was reported Sept. 16 in the 2600 block of East Business U.S. Highway 190.
  • Criminal mischief in the form of damage to vehicle paint and tires valued at $14,600 was reported Sept. 15 in the 2100 block of Vernice Drive. The criminal who did this damage faces a felony charge.
  • Criminal mischief in the form of damage to furniture, appliances and clothing valued at $11,000 was reported Sept. 15 in the 500 block of West Avenue A. This crime occurred relative to a domestic dispute. The perpetrator is known and an arrest warrant is in the works.
  • Deadly conduct with a firearm was reported Sept. 20 in the 100 block of West Hogan Drive. This crime is typically charged when a person points a firearm in the direction of another or toward a populated area.
  • A terroristic threat was reported Sept. 20 in the 900 block of Risen Star Lane.
  • A terroristic threat was reported Sept. 16 in the 2700 block of East Business U.S. Highway 190.
  • Forgery of a government document/money/securities was reported Sept. 15 in the 2700 block of East Business U.S. Highway 190.
  • Two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia were reported Sept. 19 in the 1300 block of West Avenue B.
  • Possession of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia were reported Sept. 16 in the 3000 block of Grimes Crossing Road.

Kudos to the cops on these drug-related busts. Any removal of illegal drugs, drug paraphernalia and the criminals who possess, use and sell them is a major plus for Copperas Cove.

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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