A report from our news partner on Killeen's 2017 homicide rate shines light on a disturbing trend in the community.

Kathleen Serie with KWTX reports that there were 22 confirmed homicides in Killeen last year, 18 of which were investigated as murders. (The remaining four were classified as self defense.) Of those cases, only six have been solved, and of those six, five resulted in arrests.

Serie spoke with Killeen Police Department Homicide Unit Sergeant Timothy Manges, who said two-thirds of the city's homicides could be traced to gang and drug activities, while the remainder stemmed from domestic violence.

Manges said his unit is working closely with KPD's drug unit, but that investigations are hindered by community members' unwillingness to share information with police out of fear. He could not cite a specific cause of the increased drug and gang violence, but said it has affected crime stats across the city.

A reported 22 homicides makes 2017 the deadliest year in Killeen since 23 people were killed in a mass shooting at a Luby's in the city on October 16, 1991.

On December 21, 2017, the Killeen Police Department announced it would be working with the U.S. Department of Justice to determine the root cause of the rise of violent crime in Killeen and work to curb it. Specifically, KPD will work with the DOJ's Office of Justice Programs Diagnostic Center to develop a comprehensive strategy to combat crime in the city, which KPD Chief Chuck Kimble said has proven effective in other cities.

“Bringing in experts from outside our organization will provide a fresh perspective and new ideas for combatting crime in Killeen,” Kimble said. “OJP has developed successful solutions in other communities, and I believe they will deliver the same in our city.”