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EXCLUSIVE: Killeen Police Department says new crime strategy is working

Posted at 6:22 PM, Apr 09, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-09 19:46:24-04

KILLEEN, Texas — Some Central Texans living on the north side of Killeen may have noticed the increase of police presence in the area.

25 News reporter Adam Schindler went to the Killeen Police Department's headquarters to speak with law enforcement officials to find out more.

Chief Pedro Lopez says that in August of last year, KPD implemented a new crime strategy.

”We realized that crime, it moves around, so we have to chase it around,” Chief Lopez said.

“In August of 2023, we started a new crime strategy where we looked at the previous 28 days' data to see where the crime was occurring, so we could put those resources in those areas.”

It’s called Problem Oriented Policing, or P.O.P.

In October, 25 News spent the day with Officer Cardoza, who was assigned to a P.O.P. area of Downtown Killeen.

Speaking with Chief Lopez, 25 News asked, “He (Officer Cardoza) was focusing on finding narcotics — is that you, having certain patrol officers focus in different things?”

”Our theory is that, to reduce violent crime, we have to do traffic stops,” Chief Lopez said.

“Which in turn, finds dope and guns.”

Dope, as the Chief called it, is exactly what Cardoza is hoping to get off the street.

”Drugs have been highly illegal for a while now,” Cardoza said.

“It's just that people don’t respond well to them, and it alters their mind, obviously — I just like getting drugs off the road.”

In the P.O.P. areas Cardoza is assigned to, it’s not just vehicles he keeps an eye on.

“I watch houses, watch people, watch buildings, restaurants, businesses to see how people react,” Cardoza said.

“See how people’s attitudes change when they see a cop car.”

The idea is to take more officers like Cardoza out of low crime areas and put them in the high crime and not areas to bring those numbers down/

Chief Lopez says the data is showing that this approach has proven to be successful.

”Oh, it is very successful,” Chief Lopez said.

“I think we have over a seven percent decrease in violent crime, and about a 26 percent decrease in property crime.”

If you want to know the latest crime statistics in your neighborhood, those and maps can be found on the KPD website.

If you notice and increase in crime in your area, they’re asking you to let them know so they can reallocate resources to your neighborhood.