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25 Investigates: Has COVID-19 impacted local crime?

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Posted at 3:50 PM, Jul 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-10 19:12:50-04

COVID has changed the way we live, and it's also changed crimes in many places.

Most areas have seen noticeable drops in crime, while one police department we talked to has seen a troubling increase.

25 News investigated crimes committed during the COVID-19 pandemic and has what you need to know to keep you and your family safe.

As the coronavirus crisis grows in Central Texas, so do the concerns about the kind of crime we're seeing.

Have crimes become more serious than before and has COVID had an impact on the level of crime we see?

It concerns Amar Kuar of Waco, because COVID has changed just about everything else in her life.

"I've definitely heard news about other cities it's spiking up because we're not quarantined anymore so it's spiking up in big cities like Houston and Dallas but I'm not sure about Waco," she explained.

Waco authorities say crime has stayed a little lower than normal since the COVID crisis began, a trend you can see from one end of Central Texas all the way down into the Brazos Valley.

"We're seeing a downturn in the reporting of crime so in comparison it looks like our crime has dropped," said Brazos County Sheriff, Chris Kirk.

The one place that seems to have bucked that trend is Killeen where we reported last month the number of killings had already equaled that from all of last year.

"The common denominator in most of the cases is weapons, handguns,” explained Killeen Police Chief Charles Kimble, who told us at the time, he aimed to curb that disturbing trend.

”We're going to bring all of our resources to, to stop that. If you're involved in the trafficking of weapons we're going to come after you to stop that," said Kimble.

Certainly the killing of Vanessa Guillen and another Fort Hood soldier Gregory Morales hasn't helped.

But even the types of crimes cops anticipated would rise have surprised them.

"In thinking about it, we thought the assaults would go up, the domestic violence, those numbers have NOT increased," noted Sheriff Kirk.

Waco reports the same, and fewer night calls downtown because bars remain closed due to COVID.

"I definitely look around my surroundings because nobody's safe today, and yeah I just have to be careful," said Kuar.

That's advice officers say is good for all of us.

Law enforcement authorities say they’ll keep adjusting to whatever curves crime throws them whether COVID related or not.