TEMPLE/WACO, TX — Crime rates in McLennan County along with the City of Waco and Temple held steady on their decreasing trends.
With an added pandemic, keeping people safe became a whole new meaning to police officers and front line workers.
17 homicide cases were reported and that is one of the highest cases in a single year since 1993 with 29 cases.
McLennan County Sheriff's Department handled 3 homicide cases and Sheriff Parnell McNamara says that's about average for the year.
"3 homicide cases, that's going to be about standard, in some years we've had more in some a little less," Sheriff McNamara said.
It's hard to pinpoint whether the pandemic played a role in crime rates of 2020. Burglaries and robberies stayed about the same for the county but violence did increase elsewhere in 2020.
"Family violence may have been a little higher," Sheriff McNamara said.
In Temple, 7 homicide cases were reported and with that 3 arrests were made. Temple PD responded to 232 cases of violent crime in 2020 and only 183 in 2019.
"However, of that, we saw a 32% reduction in robbery calls," Media Relations Specialist for Temple PD, Cody Weems said.
Weems says he's unsure whether the pandemic played a role in their crime rate totals for the year.
"It certainly is possible that the pandemic could have caused an increase in crime but that is something that would have to be explored on a case-by-case basis," Weems said.
Overall, Waco is on a 20-year decrease in overall crime rate, however with those 17 homicides in 2020 that shows concern for a slight uptick.
The city of Waco currently sits without a Police Chief and in finding one, the city hopes to hire someone ready to keep their crime rates low.
"Whomever we're looking at for chief, they bring a set of skills to the table in order to be able to effectively combat those kinds of changes," Assistant City Manager, Ryan Holt, said.
Overall there was a 4% crime rate decrease in Waco in 2020. Even on a downward trend the city still plans to implement safety protocols and measures within its police department to keep its citizens safe.
"Combined with the things that you're seeing being brought to the city of Waco to help population increase, it's going to make Waco a safer place with all the strategies being put into place," Holt said.