WACO, Texas — The Waco Police Department is pointing to domestic and gang violence as factors contributing to the surge of murders seen since the beginning of the year.
Since the beginning of 2022, 14 people have been murdered in 12 separate murder investigations.
25 News sat down with Waco Police Chief Sheryl Victorian on Wednesday to discuss the biggest issues impacting the Waco community, including a surge in murders and gun violence.
"They're personal. They're personal conflicts. I don't think we've had any that have occurred that have been random," Victorian said of the violent crime.
Out of the 12 murder investigations, eight suspects have been apprehended.
FBI data shows that Texas and the United States are following similar murder trends, skyrocketing since 2019 and reaching levels not seen since the 1990s. Victorian said her goal is to get Waco off that trend line.
Victorian presented the department's plan to reduce violent crime to the city council last week. It includes plans to better prevent and intervene in violent crime, as well as to improve its apprehension of suspects.
In addition to the murder rate, 149 guns have already been reported stolen since Jan. 1.
Victorian declined to comment on specific political policies regarding gun law reform and regulation, but did ask Waco residents to practice responsible gun ownership.
"If you're gonna own a gun, I need you to know where that gun is, I need you to make sure there's a lock on that weapon, I need you to make sure that weapon is secure, I need you to make sure that weapon does not get into the hands of children," she said.
Outside of efforts to speed up arrests, Victorian is also turning to long-term violent crime prevention. 25 News will have more from its discussion with Victorian, including the specifics of her crime prevention plan, for the rest of the week.