Killeen residents fed up with rising crime blamed on teens living in home for minors in CPS custody
Neighbors allege state agency never alerted city, residents about home for minors
KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) - Residents on Tuesday night rallied at the Killeen city council meeting to let city leaders know about teen criminals disrupting their neighborhood and peace of mind.
Families in the Verbena Loop community said they are sick of trespassing, vandalism and burglaries.
Some neighbors who spokes with KWTX said, that in August of last year, the Texas Family and Protective Services rented a home for minors in the Child Protective Services program without notifying the city or the neighborhood.
Leanne Stevenson said she’s considering selling her home now, but is concerned about the property value.
“They’ll drive by. They’ll taunt you, call you names, they’ll jump your fences. I know for a fact they’ve been going to different stores in the area with their backpacks and they’ve been taking alcohol,” said Stevenson.
One resident gave an example of the mayhem by explaining how the group stole his basketball hoop from his driveway in broad daylight.
Most neighbors believe the minors continue behaving this way because they know the state will not hold them accountable.
“This is something that the state has done. They can’t restrain the children. They have no way to deal with the kids if they disobey the guardians at the house,” said City of Killeen Manager Kent Cagle.
Vivian Munera-Spears said it’s gone so far; she feels like she needs extra protection. “It has been life changing for me. I have never owned a gun, or had a gun, until this past November where I’ve felt like I had to purchase a gun,” said Munera-Spears.
Killeen Police Chief, Charles Kimble, said local juvenile detention centers are overcrowded and would have to take them to a facility an hour away.
He also said officers are understaffed and cannot patrol the area or engage if there is not a serious crime.
“We’ve been dealing with this for a long time. Now, the community is feeling our pain and we’re trying our best to deal with it. But it’s an overwhelming system, and unless they’re really doing something felonious, it’s really hard for us to get involved,” said Kimble.
“How about us open another juvenile detention center. Get these kids out of these homes because it’s not working well for them. Like the gentleman said before, they’re not going to have a future if something is not done now. Because by the time they get to 18, they’re out of the system. They kick them out the very next day,” said Stevenson.
Stevenson said Senator Brad Buckley plans to meet with residents in the neighborhood to combat the issue.
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