The preliminary numbers were more welcome news for Police Chief Dennis Baldwin. Baldwin once again credited his department, city officials, alert residents and the Bell County District Attorney's Office with causing the decrease.
"It's not only about public safety and crime. It was about the way we were united with the citizens, with the media. The idea behind this is we can't give only victory to public safety. The citizens took a stand. The neighborhood watches were very proactive," Councilman Juan Rivera said.
Rivera was one of the most outspoken city officials in late 2007 and early 2008 when statistics revealed Killeen's crime woes.
Baldwin hopes good news does not lead to complacency. Baldwin often credits vigilant neighbors who report burglaries in progress and help police capture suspects when he discusses the improvements.
So far in 2009, Killeen continues to gain ground in the fight against crime. Aggravated assaults and robberies were the only two crimes to increase in 2008, but they have both decreased significantly through March.
"It could result in people becoming more comfortable with what was achieved, but in reality, that would be a mistake. Our work is not done and we need to stay in the fight to make Killeen the safest community it can become," Baldwin said. Source: Killeen Daily Herald
More information about how Texas did overall, and how other Bell County agencies did in 2008 will come out when DPS publishes their Crime In Texas report. The preliminary report only includes Texas cities with 50,000 or greater population.