By Philip Jankowski
Killeen Daily Herald
In giving his quarterly report to the Killeen City Council Tuesday, Police Chief Dennis Baldwin made his pitch for increased staff by pointing toward positive trends in crime statistics.
Baldwin displayed graphs and statistics he said showed a direct correlation between having a fully staffed police department and one that is understaffed.
When the council defunded several positions in 2008, the crime rate jumped, according to his statistics. When the council refunded those positions in 2010, the crime rate dropped dramatically.
"The department needs to grow or we will see what happened in 2009 and 2010," Baldwin said.
In the first half of the year, everything except for robberies and larcenies (simple thefts) have dropped.
That includes burglaries, a category in which Killeen still ranks far above the national average. So far this year, the department has seen 36.22 percent fewer burglaries reported.
Baldwin credited that number to an increase in the size of the burglary unit, which is now staffed 24 hours a day and had its size doubled in the past year.
"We're firing on more cylinders there than we were, and you're seeing that," he said.
Mayor Pro Tem Michael Lower asked Baldwin if he thought there was enough staff for the unit.
Baldwin said he would need more time to make a determination.
"You're seeing a snapshot," he said.
Robberies have gone up 8.42 percent since last year. The increase amounts to eight more cases than at this time last year.
"One, two to three people can cause that," Baldwin said.
Baldwin also presented the updated crime rate for the city. With new population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau indicating that Killeen's population topped 130,000 last year, the crime rate dropped in all major categories.
Violent crime fell 19.25 percent, non-violent crime was down 12.18 percent and the crime index (a per capita crime rate) fell 13.21 percent.
Contact Philip Jankowski at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7553. Follow him on Twitter at KDHcrime.
By the numbers
Killeen crime statistics for first half of 2012
Violent crime: -4.38%
Non-violent crime: -10.13%
Aggravated assault: -6.57%
Vehicle theft: -21.85%
Traffic accidents: +4.7%
Source: Killeen Police Department