(KWTX) – The cities of Waco and Killeen appear to be experiencing a decline in violent crime compared to previous years.

In 2022, the city of Killeen experienced 20 murders compared to 18 in 2021, but that is still a drastic drop from the record-breaking 31 homicides the city in 2020.

“It’s not something we are ever going to be comfortable with,” says Mayor Pro Tem Ken Wilkerson.

The city says increasing community involvement is what can continue making a difference in the number of violent and non violent crimes we see.

“Police Chief Kimble has been instrumental in trying to reach out to the community and get to the root cause of crime,” Wilkerson explains.

Chief Kimble is leaving at the beginning of 2023, retiring his uniform after more than three decades. But the city is heading into the new year with optimism and determination and they are displaying that through a newer committee that centers around solutions.

“We really need people to come out and support the crime solutions committee,” Wilkerson adds.

The committee got started this year after two years of work to get it started. They use data and statistics as a baseline for conversations and it encourages those on the committee to consider solutions that have worked in other cities.

In Waco, there was a shocking increase in violent crime at the start of 2022.

“In the first half of the year, we did see a pretty big increase in homicides so we were kind of nervous to see how the year would pan out,” says Cierra Shipley, the public information officer for Waco PD.

The rest of 2022 brought some reassurance for the department as their violent crime rate started to slow. It has created hope for them seeing their programs and initiative are making the difference.

“We’re going to continue doing what we are doing and adapt and change and try new things to continue helping decrease that crime rate,” Shipley adds.

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