By Sonya Campbell

Killeen Daily Herald

BELTON - Crime in Belton rose by 24 percent overall in 2010, according to an annual report given by Police Chief Gene Ellis.

He said the economy was most likely a factor. Ellis presented the report during the City Council's regular meeting Tuesday.

The report noted there were no homicides during the past two years. And in 2010, the number of robbery, larceny, criminal mischief and burglary of a motor vehicle cases dropped. So did the number of sex crimes, which decreased from 24 in 2009 to 18 in 2010.

But the news was not all good. Some crimes increased last year.

Assaults rose by 62 percent, climbing from 351 in 2009 to 568 in 2010. Ellis said most of the cases stemmed from family violence. Burglaries increased by 27 percent. In 2009, 156 burglaries were reported versus 198 in 2010.

Motor vehicle thefts climbed by 244 percent, with 9 cases in 2009 compared to 31 in 2010.

There also was an increase in accidents, which rose from 587 in 2009 to 641 in 2010.

The report indicated police made fewer traffic contacts in 2009 and 2010 than in previous years.

Ellis pointed out the increase in crimes and wrecks seemed to correspond with less of a police presence on the streets.

While the police department was understaffed in 2010, he said, that wasn't the case in 2009. Ellis said steps are being taken to address the issue.

He noted the number of traffic contacts were up for the past month.

Another crime that rose in 2010 was harassment, which climbed from 35 cases in 2009 to 74 in 2010.

After the presentation, Mayor Jim Covington said, "Overall, it's a good report. It's sad to see crime up. It's the state of a down economy."

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