BRYAN, TX — The FBI released their annual crime statistics on Monday which show that in Bryan, and cities all across the United States, a violent crime spike was recorded for the year 2020.
“Once I lost T, T-Baby was his nickname, I was more on high alert because I have a younger son," said Bryan resident Chandra Petty. "I felt that if I lost T-Baby, who was well known in the community, my other son was not exempt.”
Petty’s 20-year-old son Latravean 'T-Baby' Thomas had returned to Bryan at the time of his homicide in August of 2020. He was attending college out of town, but due to the pandemic, his classes were all being held online.
Petty said that normally she would worry about sending her kids away from Bryan and off to college. She never thought that Thomas would lose his life to gun violence in his own hometown.
“I can honestly say that before his death, I really hadn’t been in tune to much violence that had been going on," Petty said. "I didn’t hear of anything. But now it seems like after his death, it was just violence after violence. It was like a trickle-down effect.”
The FBI tracks yearly crime statistics for cities all across the United States. The crime summary for Bryan PD's jurisdiction shows a significant spike in reported crimes for 2020, with a very low crime clearance rate that same year. Approximately 222 of those more than 450 offenses were considered violent crimes.
“We did see a spike in family violence and assault, so our family violence numbers were a little higher in 2020 than they typically have been," commented Officer Kole Taylor, Bryan PD spokesperson. "It could be from the pandemic, but it’s hard to tell."
Violent crime numbers also spiked for the state of Texas and the nation as a whole last year. However, crime rates in College Station actually dropped in 2020, according to FBI reports.
College Station PD spokesperson Tristen Lopez noted that this doesn’t necessarily mean that violence didn’t increase during the pandemic.
“There was a shift last year in the types of crimes," Lopez explained. "We certainly saw that. There’s less people on the roadways, so there are less crashes ... there was an increase compared to the previous year in family violence assaults - a slight increase.”
The state has since reopened, meaning fewer people are forced to stay at home, where family violence issues might occur. But for residents like Chandra Petty, whose son she said did not die in a family violence incident, increasing crime trends go beyond the pandemic.
“Let’s be honest," said Petty. "A lot of the people we’re losing now are young adults and our youth. These murderers are getting younger and younger by the day ... we've got to find a way to redirect them in a positive way so we don't keep losing our children.”