Waco residents are speaking out when it comes to crime in the area.
After a known drug dealer ran over a Waco Police officer Tuesday morning, it shined a light on a crime problem residents said has become increasingly worse in north Waco. It is an issue could in part be sparked by the prevalence of drugs in the area.
“In some parts of town, you may see drugs a little more openly than you do in others, north Waco is one of those areas,” Waco Police Sergeant Patrick Swanton said.
According to the Waco Police Department, in this concentrated area of North Waco, there have been 566 narcotics arrests since January of 2015. In the same time period, there have been 1,432 assaults and seven murders. It is a drug and crime problem that people who live in the area said they’ve seen firsthand.
Police said drugs can often be a gateway to other crimes making neighborhoods with a heavy drug presence a dangerous place to live.
“There are quality of life issues for people who live near a drug dealer or who live around a known drug house,” Swanton said. “Cars coming and going, disturbances at the house, robberies, shots fired. Those kinds of things.”
And residents said that is exactly what has happened. In fact, most said it is more uncommon to see a house that has not been broken into than has.
“This one over here they broke into that one twice, and my neighbor over there, and the other one across the street there, you know they’re just breaking in,” Waco resident Cecil Jacinto said.
Other neighbors said they have had break ins throughout the block as well as car burglaries.
However, Police are now working to combat the problem by using crime analysis data to pinpoint problem areas and work to get ahead of crime before it happens.
“We want to be able to do some forecasting, and say in this neighborhood you’ll most likely see drug dealing or burglaries during these hours,” Swanton said.
Police said it is important that the community works with police to clean up problem areas and they are continuing to find new ways to combat drugs citywide.