KILLEEN - It has been a busy week for Killeen police who have responded to several crimes over the past few days including a fatal shooting.
Channel 6 spoke with Killeen Police Chief Margaret Young early Thursday. Chief Young said she is aware of this latest uptick in violence but that the department is putting things into place to cut back on some of this crime.
“We’re working at several different angles to try and correct the problem,” Young said.
The city of Killeen is off to a violent start just a few months into 2017. Numbers through April show the city suffered 89 robberies and more than 200 aggravated assaults. Killeen has also seen 10 homicides – the most recent being earlier this week. Five of the homicide cases remain unsolved.
Chief Young said while the crime rate this year is higher than it was this time last year, there has been improvements.
Killeen Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division recently added 10 new detectives and will hire two more.
Young said if we have a homicide or major crime scene then that whole unit kind of gets shut down and goes and works that initial homicide for the first 48 hours so that means everything else is waiting.
“When they come back, they pick up where they left off so by getting more people in there we’ll be able to lessen the load on the people that are currently working that and that way we’ll be able to spend more time on more cases,” she said.
However, despite the extra bodies, Young said resistance from community members can also be an obstacle when trying to make arrests. Some people may not report crimes they see taking place out of fear.
“If I have a homicide or something at a dope party,” she said. “Those people because of their lifestyle are not going to want to cooperate with the police they tend to mistrust the police so it really does hinder the investigation.
An uptick in crime over the summer is a possible challenge, especially with local students being out of school. Young said she is confident there are enough summer programs to keep everyone’s time occupied in a positive manner. Moving forward she is looking to restructure the department to become more effective.
“Analyzing the organization, how it’s setup,” she said. “is there another way to reorganize it more efficiently and more effectiveness on the crime rate to assist patrol that kind of thing.”
Chief Young told Channel 6 that the number of auto thefts in the city have dramatically increased and suggests for residents to always secure their keys.
Visit bellcountycrimestoppers.com to report a crime.
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