TEMPLE, TX — Last year, the overall crime in Temple dropped, but the number of murders were higher than in previous years.
Temple Police Department Chief Floyd Mitchell said they had fewer property related crimes in 2018 but the number of violent crimes increased.
"Overall, Temple is a very safe community. When you look at the overall crime in Temple last year, we experienced an overall decrease around eight percent," Mitchell said.
In 2015, the city had 15 murders.
Mitchell said two of them involved drug-related robberies but eight victims died because of family violence.
"We had eight cases that were linked to family violence. That's a difficult for us in traditional policing to attack," Mitchell said. "We are not intimately involved in everyone's relationship. We don't know what's going on in the home."
Once a victim reports this type of crime, Mitchell said the police department is able to give them vouchers for temporary housing to separate that person from the abuser. In addition, they can connect them with legal assistance and other groups that help victims of family violence.
"Our main focus is to reduce crime in general. Last year there was a sharp decrease in property crimes but we had a spike in violent crime. When you look at that spike, it had to do with family violence. We're just trying to get the word out to make sure people understand if they are in that situation to reach out for help whether it would be to a family member or to the police department ," Mitchell said.
His department is also starting a Violent Crime Enforcement Squad with four officers who will work proactively to identify crime patterns and prevent it from continuing to happen in the community.