The latest annual crime statistics released by the Killeen Police Department show the overall crime rate for the city is the lowest it has been in more than 10 years.
The department also is reporting the lowest rate of burglaries since 2001. The frequency of burglaries per capita has dropped almost exactly in half from when the city had the dubious distinction of the Texas city with the highest rate of burglaries.
However, the latest results are a mixed bag. Property crimes have dropped noticeably, but 2012 saw an uptick in the rate of violent crime — specifically rapes and robberies.
“The public would like to see it go down every year,” Killeen police Chief Dennis Baldwin said. “Sometimes that doesn’t happen.”
In 2007, burglaries became and still remain the top priority for the department, Baldwin said.
KPD received a shot in the arm when Baldwin increased the size of a dedicated burglary unit in 2011 following an uptick in the annual number of offenses and some community outcry.
The rate of burglaries dropped about 29 percent, and if the number remains on pace this year, Killeen should be out of the top 10 worst cities in Texas for burglaries next year, Baldwin said.
The department is working to implement
a program tentatively called “Report It” to assist with property crimes and recovery of stolen items. It will allow residents to easily share serial numbers and photos of their property with the department in case items are stolen.
Data-driven policing can reduce the instance of crimes by the careful monitoring of crime trends on a daily basis. It works well for property crimes because they occur frequently.
Violent crime is harder to predict, and police rely on education and counseling for first-time offenders.
Baldwin said KPD works closely with Fort Hood, which has several sexual assault-related programs.
For robberies, the department reached out to local businesses they felt were more susceptible to robberies. For instance, officers spoke with some pizza delivery businesses after robbers targeted delivery drivers.
Police asked businesses to verify an order by calling the number prior to sending out the driver. The idea was to prevent drivers from heading to a fictitious order where they would be robbed, Baldwin said.
“Violent crime is higher than it should be in Killeen, bottom line,” Baldwin said.