A week after announcing there's been an increase in auto theft across the city, Temple police report that there was a drop in crime last year.

In a statement released Wednesday, police reported a 12% drop in total crime, including a 16% drop in violent crimes. Police say murder decreased by 57%, sexual assault by 26%, and robbery by 31%. However, there was a 4% increase in aggravated assault.

Total property crimes saw a 12% decrease, with burglary of a building down by 49% and larceny down by 10%.

Temple Police Department
Temple Police Department

Police responded to 1,937 violent crimes and property crimes in 2019, which is reportedly down 12% from 2019 and 20% from 2018.

Temple Police Department
Temple Police Department

As mentioned above, the city has seen a recent increase in auto thefts. Last Thursday, police reported that there had been 33 incidents of stolen cars. In 48% of those cases, the cars were unlocked. In 45%, keys were inside the vehicles. 25 of the stolen cars were recovered. Police said most of the thefts occurred at apartment complexes.

"Not all crime can be prevented, but there are measures you can take to reduce your risk of becoming a victim," Interim Police Chief Jim Tobin said Wednesday. "Lock your doors, remove valuables from your vehicle, and don't leave spare keys in places where they're easily accessible. Be aware of your surroundings and report suspicious activity."

Maybe it's just me, but despite these numbers, things feel weirdly tense in Temple lately. It doesn't help that a few nights ago a man approached me in my driveway and asked if he could "borrow my car for the evening". It was such a surreal moment. Who just walks up to a stranger and asks to borrow their car?

I of course said no, but the guy asked again. And again. He asked me six times before I walked into my house, leaving him standing in my driveway staring at my door. He eventually walked off.

I called police, who responded quickly and did a drive around the neighborhood to see if they could spot him. Unfortunately, he wasn't anywhere to be found.

By the way, I want to thank the officer who stopped by my place to follow up with me.

Anyway, the incident creeped me out and didn't help this feeling I've had lately that things are getting weird in Temple.

I still think this is a wonderful community to call home, but I hope everyone will take Temple PD's advice and always be aware of their surroundings. Keep valuables out of your car, including the keys. That seems like a no-brainer to me. I've never understood the mentality behind leaving the keys in a 2,800+ pound piece of machinery you busted your back to make payments on.

Personally, I lock my doors every time I exit my car. It doesn't matter if I'm pumping gas, running into a store for a pack of gum, or unloading the latest haul of groceries from my trunk. If my back's to my car for even a moment, the doors are locked. Why make things any easier for a thief?

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