Shooting that injured woman, girl renews local crime concerns

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KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) A shooting that left a woman and a girl injured has sparked renewed crime concerns in a city that has experienced a violent year.

(Photo by Alex Cano)

Police released no new information Thursday about the shooting just before 4 a.m. Wednesday in the 2700 block of Roadrunner Drive in Killeen that left the unidentified woman in critical condition and the girl in stable condition with non-life-threatening injuries.

So far this month, Killeen police have responded to at least five shootings that left a total of eight people injured and two dead.

As 2017 winds down, Killeen has recorded 20 homicides, and some residents are worried.

Sherri Dunlap has lived in Killeen for the past 13 months and has seen her share of crime in her quiet neighborhood.

“I woke up to one of my alerts and listened to the alert. It was gunshots. I called police immediately” she said.

Dunlap says she’s called Killeen police three times since she moved from Austin and has upgraded her home security stem.

“I have outdoor cameras in door cameras, I am aware of the comings and goings of my house all day long.”

She believes the younger generation might be behind the crime wave.

“If Killeen can find some after school opportunities for children something positive. Seems to be a lot of idle hands available.”

Ministries such as Victory Gospel Center have taken notice of the increase in crime.

Pastor Devon Darson says she's seen an increase in crime in the last six months, but attributes it to more homeless people coming into the city.

“They are coming from outer cities into our small city" said Darson.

Darson says since she established the ministry 14 years ago, prostitution has been the main crime she would see.

The Killeen Police Department announced last week it has asked the Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs Diagnostic Center for help in curbing crime in the city.

“This collaboration will produce a comprehensive crime reduction strategy by examining Killeen’s crime environment, evaluating current response methods and resources and developing proactive approaches to achieving measurable and sustainable results,” police said in a press release on Dec. 21.

The department’s Diagnostic Center uses “a data-driven approach to ‘diagnosing’ crime and its root causes,” the department said.

Through the collection and analysis of data, the center can identify “multiple facets of the crime cycle” and “determine baseline indicators for comparison to other cities,” on the basis of which crime-fighting strategies can be developed.

“Bringing in experts from outside our organization will provide a fresh perspective and new ideas for combatting crime in Killeen,” Police Chief Chuck Kimble said.

Killeen Mayor Jose Segarra, says the bump in crime is at least in part a result of family issues.

“A lot of time it's domestic, a few weeks ago we had the ex-husband shot the wife then shot themselves" said Segarra.

When asked what he is doing to reduce crime in the city he says the recent partnership with the Department of Justice should help identify the problem.

“They are a set of new eyes to look at our crime situation and see how they can help” Segarra said.