Summer is one of the most exciting times of the year, but it can also be one of the most dangerous times for shootings.
Locals like Estavon Williams say summer brings out the worst in Killeen residents, as that’s when the number of shootings builds up, especially around the weekend of July 4th.
“During the day, a lot of criminals can now match the shots behind the fireworks. It’s just not in Killeen, it’s all of America,” Williams said.
Last year, several cities recorded dozens of shootings over the bank holiday weekend. Sgt. Neal Holtzclaw of the Killeen Police Department’s Violent Crimes Unit said he had seen an increase in shootings in our area in recent years.
“It is not uncommon to see an increase in shootings during the summer,” said Holtzclaw.
Holtzclaw said there are several factors causing the peak, including the young.
“A lot of it has to do with the fact that the school is absent. Children cause harm and even go a step further and commit acts of violence, ”said Holtzclaw.
“For the kids, it’s easy to get out and maneuver. . . and do whatever you want. There are so many people here, but there aren’t that many police officers, ”said Williams.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, to date we’ve seen 270 mass shootings across the country this year, 40% more than around the same time last year.
One of those shootings involving young people from our region. Holtzclaw said KPD takes extra precautions to keep the community safe during the summer months.
“We always monitor the areas that have a higher crime rate, then we focus on those areas, we will put more patrol officers in that area – some of our other specialized units will focus on those areas,” said Sgt. Holtzgriffe.
Local parents are also emphasizing the need for free or low-cost youth programs to help prevent their teens from getting involved in crime.