About 24 local residents at a Killeen Police Department forum Thursday night learned crime is on the decline.
Chief Dennis Baldwin outlined raw crime data from January to November that showed Killeen saw a 54 percent drop in murders, a 4.9 percent drop in aggravated assaults and a 10.5 percent drop in the number of burglaries compared to 2012.
But not all crime categories were down. The data showed a 1.3 percent uptick in the number of rapes, and a 2.2 percent increase in the number of vehicle thefts so far in 2013, compared to 2012.
Looking ahead to 2014, Baldwin said the department would continue to focus on reducing burglaries and other violent crime in the city, but also planned to work to address issues such as noise and traffic congestion.
“It’s important for us to also address those quality of life issues,” he said.
Thursday’s forum also featured a roundtable of representatives from the city and various community organizations, and ended with a question-and-answer session.
“This is an opportunity for everyone to share ideas, information and raise any concerns,” Baldwin said.
Assistant Police Chief Larry Longwell talked about the RAIDS online crime tracking program and “Report It,” a free online program where residents can catalog their property, making it easier for police to identify and return stolen items.
“These are really convenient tools for you, and they also help us,” Longwell said.
Issues raised by residents included concerns about commercial vehicle ticketing, panhandling and traffic congestion.
Baldwin said the next forum will be in June at the department’s station in North Killeen.
Contact Chris McGuinness at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at ChrismKDH.