LAMPASAS — Petty crime appears to be on the rise in the area, according to yearly call numbers provided by the Lampasas Police Department.
Typically averaging around 10,000 calls per year, the past two years showed an upward trend in the need for police assistance, said Lt. Jody Cummings, investigator for the department,
According to reports, police received 10,908 calls for service in 2012. In 2013, calls totaled 11,245, a 12.4 percent increase of the city’s average.
“Our last year here in the city was probably our busiest for police calls,” Cummings said. “We hit our normal yearly average in early November this year.”
Of those calls, Cummings said there was an increase in car burglaries and small outbuildings.
In addition, the city saw two significant cases of vandalism in the past two years. “Lost in Wisconsin,” a statue in the Hanna Springs Sculpture Garden at Campbell Park, was vandalized in 2012. And in November, a private cart was taken out of a shed at Hancock Park Golf Course and driven across the green. Both cases are still under investigation.
“The park was personal because (the vandals) tore up art,” Cummings said. “It was kind of a showcase for us, and those artists donated it to (the city).”
The sculpture was donated by West Texas-based artist Nic Noblique in memory of Lampasas resident Stephanie Gradel, who passed away suddenly in 2012.
Noblique created a second sculpture, “We will spread, we will cover the earth ... like air and water,” to replace the vandalized one. The new sculpture was installed in the park Jan. 4.
“To have the (original) sculpture vandalized ... really reopened a wound,” said Nancy Gray, president and founder of Lampasas Association for the Arts.
Both City Manager Finley deGraffenried and Cummings said a recently added school safety officer should be able to assist the police department in the summer. That and a sophisticated alert system should help address the rise in crime.
“The primary focus has been on community education, foot patrol, and to kind of keep a very close eye on (the activity,)” deGraffenried said, referring to the city’s preventative measures.
Hill Country Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward up to $2,000 for information leading to the arrest of the Hanna Springs Sculpture Garden vandals. Call Crime Stoppers at 866-756-8477.