CENTRAL TEXAS — Several neighborhoods hosted block parties for National Night out to encourage the community to work with local law enforcement to prevent crime.
“We’ve had a lot of criminal activity here in our neighborhood at Luna Vista. We just want to stop it,” said Sherry Kerry.
Local kids activities enjoyed several activities that Sherry Kelley and friends put together during one of the 11 National Night Out events in Killeen.
“I’ve got rock painting where they can make pet rocks. We got pumpkin and cactus painting over here,” said Kelley.
This particular party is on the same street where a 5-year girl and her grandmother were shot last month.
“It has shaken all of us we got a bullet hole through our window over there. Thank God it was just a wound but it was pretty traumatic,” said Kelley.
It’s why Kelley believes her neighbors need this event to stand up to criminals and build relationships with the police.
“I’d like to put on a neighborhood watch where we alternate block walks and walking dogs, just to be more active in the community. More positive,” said Kelley.
Last year, Central Texas saw an overall jump in violent crime, including in Killeen.
Police Chief Charles Kimble says it’s essential to build connections with the community, especially after the city recorded a record number of homicides.
“It’s a great time to talk about those things. We’re not running from the numbers or activities. The more people that know about it, helps brings crime down,” said Chief Kimble.
However, Killeen is not alone. Several other cities like Belton also held National Night Out events. Belton’s property crime increased by more than 100% in 2020.
“Probably a good percentage of the firearms and guns that end up in the hand of criminals are taken out of unlocked motor vehicles. The simple prevention of locking your doors and removing your valuables will 100% prevent that crime,” said Belton Chief of Police Gene Ellis.
Kelley hopes everyone will come together to help stop crime in Bell County because law enforcement officers can’t do it alone.
“It’s much better for neighborhoods to be united and not be afraid of criminals. I think if we are united and we’re together we can put a good bite into crime,” said Kelley.
During Kelly’s event, she also had a suggestion box out so people can anonymously right suggestions and tips to help local police stop crime.