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Mexia arrests make big drop as community fights poverty

Mexia Police Car
Posted at 9:57 PM, Jun 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-21 01:36:15-04

MEXIA, TX — Something very unusual happened in Mexia a couple of weeks ago. Police reported the number of arrests in one week dropped to almost nothing.

Donnette East says crime here seems to go in cycles.

"Sometimes it seems like every time you pick up the newspaper or whatever, or look at Facebook, that there's a crime that's been committed," she explained.

But from June 3 through June 10, Mexia had only two arrests to report.

By comparison, Gatesville had 10, about average and Corsicana, which sits along I-45, had 28.

To what does Mexia's police chief credit his town's good fortune?

"Well, I think we had a good week. I think that we were lucky. But I also am hopeful that it's an indication of better relations between the police department and our community," said Chief Brian Bell.

Mexia police embraced "community policing" and have become more visible.

They also, along with Groesbeck, formed a task force to go after and tackle crime.

But we found more here.

Maybe Mexia police did get lucky that first week in June, but folks who live in this town call those two arrests a good start.

Several folks in Mexia have stepped up to lead a war on crime and poverty here.

They began with local entertainment, and giving people something to do. Others set up "blessing boxes" at three Mexia churches. And a group calling itself "Manna," or Mexia Area Nutrition and Homeless Advocates, aims to start the town's first soup kitchen. All of this to offer alternatives.

"You have to look at the driver of crime, and I think a lot of times that is poverty and how to come about money whether its legally or illegally," said community activist Sunday Crider.

When asked where he thought where those people committing the crimes have gone, this is what the chief had to say.

"It's possible they got to feel uncomfortable committing crimes in Mexia, that's what we're hopeful for. Do they go someplace where it's easier? Sure."

Possibly to Dallas, Waco, Temple or Killeen, he said.

Back in Mexia, Donnette East thinks her town's plan might work. "It can't hurt. Every little bit helps," she said.

Because doing nothing, she says, didn't change anything.

Since that low point at the beginning of the month, arrests numbers have grown a bit. But police and community leaders hope their initiatives will offer some more permanent help.