By Michael R. Gentry

Special to the Daily Herald

As the chief of police in Harker Heights I am frequently asked questions about crime rates, and how those crime rates are determined. I thought you might enjoy a brief explanation of crime rates and how they are used by law enforcement agencies.

The efforts to count crime are almost as old as organized policing.

In 1930, the International Association of Chiefs of Police lobbied the U.S. Congress to pass legislation that would empower the Office of the United States Attorney General to collect crime data from agencies around the nation. Since that time, the FBI has been given the responsibility of serving as a clearing house for nationwide data.

Well over 90 percent of the law enforcement agencies in America participate in the Uniform Crime Report (UCR) by reporting the crimes reported to the police on a monthly basis. The Texas DPS compiles these statistics for the state and releases them once a year in a publication called, "Crime in Texas."

UCR defines two categories. "Part 1" crimes are generally the most serious crimes, including murder, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, arson and auto theft. "Part 2" crimes are all others.

It is from the "Part 1" crimes that crime rate is calculated. UCR Crime Rate is the number of "Part 1" crimes per 100,000 in population. In theory, this allows UCR crime rate to serve as a per capita comparison regardless of the size of the jurisdiction.

The city of Harker Heights enjoys one of the lowest crime rates in the area. This is partially because of proactive enforcement strategies by the police, but it is primarily due to an involved citizenry.

Our citizens watch out for each other and communicate well with the Police Department. It is teamwork in any community that creates a higher quality of life. The HHPD appreciates all you do to aid in our efforts to serve you.

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