The summer is one of the most exciting times of year, but it can also be one of the most dangerous times for shootings.
Locals like Estavon Williams say the summer brings out the worst in people in Killeen because that is when shooting numbers pile up, especially around the 4th of July weekend.
“During the day, a lot of criminals now you can match the gun shots behind the fireworks. That is just not in Killeen that is all the United States,” said Williams.
Last year several cities recorded dozens of shootings during the holiday weekend. Sgt. Neal Holtzclaw with the Killeen Police Department violence crime unit said he has seen increases of shootings in our area in recent years.
“It is not uncommon to see a rise in shootings during the summertime,” said Holtzclaw.
Holtzclaw said there are several factors that cause the spike including the youth.
“A lot of that correlates to school being out. Kids are out causing mischief and even taking it a little further and committing some violent acts,” said Holtzclaw.
“For kids it’s easy to get outside and maneuver. . . and do whatever you want. There’s so many people here but there’s not that many police officers,” said Williams.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, to date we have seen 270 mass shootings across the nation this year which is 40 percent higher than around the same time last year.
One of those shootings involving youth from our area. Holtzclaw said KPD takes extra precautions to keep the community safe during the summer months.
“We always monitor the areas that have a higher crime rate and then we focus on those areas, we'll put more patrol officers in that area - some of our other specialized units will focus on those areas,” said Sgt. Holtzclaw.
Local parents are also stressing the need for free or low-cost youth programs to help prevent their teens from getting involved in crime.