By Philip Jankowski
Killeen Daily Herald
Killeen police Chief Dennis Baldwin presented statistics Tuesday night that largely indicated the amount of crimes committed in Killeen is on the rise.
Baldwin told Killeen City Council members the numbers of reported crimes was not completely bad news, as the city's crime index, a per capita rating, appears to be on a long-term downward trend. He also said spikes in the amount of crime in Killeen are not uncommon.
Calls for service rose 14.42 percent from last year, Baldwin said.
Baldwin said there are several factors contributing to the overall rise in the amount of crimes committed in Killeen.
The city's continued and pronounced population growth is one major factor, he said. The poor economy also has caused some crimes, he said. At the same time, it has limited the manpower of the Killeen Police Department.
The department is set to hire nine new officers this year, however, that still leaves 12 authorized positions unfilled. Baldwin said he will try again this year to secure funding for 10 more officers through federal grants.
Last year the department was unsuccessful in winning grant money for additional officers.
Baldwin has said he would like to hire as many as 40 new officers.
"While it's no one's fault, there is some ground we have to retake," Baldwin said.
Even with nine new officers slated to be hired this fiscal year, the impact of new hires will not be felt "in any meaningful way" until 2012, Baldwin said. It takes nearly a full year for a cadet to graduate from the police academy and undertake training to become a fully functional police officer.
One bright spot was the apparent effectiveness of red-light cameras. Baldwin told the council rear-end collisions at those intersections have declined from 4.52 a month in 2007 to 0.34 during the first six months of 2010. Compliance at those intersections continues to increase, he said.
Contact Philip Jankowski at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7553. Follow him on Twitter at KDHcrime.