WACO, Texas — The Waco Police Department is continuing to see an increase in gun violence across the city. The number of gun violence reports filed has nearly doubled in the last two years.
From January 1 to March 16, 2020, there were 16 gun violence reports filed at the Waco Police Department. There have been 30 reports so far in 2022, nine of those being murders.
Waco police addressed the increase in a recent episode of their weekly On The Beat podcast where Assistant Chief Frank Gentsch said they are working hard to end the violence.
"The victims of these offenses, whether your house has been shot up or a loved ones been shot and killed, that trauma is something the citizens can't adequately understand," Gentsch said.
Several families of the gun violence victims opened up about that trauma just last week as they called for peace in our communities.
Catondra Johnson lost her son Bryan in November 2020. She said more than a year later that the pain does not go away.
"The whole family be affected. It don't just stop at Bryan," she said. "He's no longer a victim. His family is victims. I know my son is okay because he believed in Jesus Christ."
So how can we prevent other families from losing loved ones? According to Assistant Chief Gentsch, it could be as simple as locking up your firearms. He said stolen guns are often what's used in these crimes.
"The last thing you want is your firearm, as a law-abiding citizen, to end up out in the streets even in the hands of a family member or friend and involved in a criminal offense," he said.
He also encouraged people to report if they do have a weapon stolen from them with the make, model, and serial number.