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Newly released crime stats for Brownwood show minor increases in violent crimes

The Brownwood Police Department’s crime statistics for 2017 show an increase in the number of violent offenses, but the city's police chief says that is mostly due to people filing more crime reports. Not that there's necessarily more crime happening.

Police Chief Terry Nichols said his department's philosophy is to create a partnership with the community and to step in and prevent crimes before they even occur.

"We need to know the crime patterns in our community and get into our computer system so we can start making sense of the data," Chief Nichols said. "Where are these things happening? When are they happening?"

In order to document crime patterns, Nichols is encouraging people to call police even if the alleged crime they’ve experienced may be seemingly harmless.

The 2017 crime statistics, which were released Tuesday, showed a small increase in homicides, rapes, robberies and larceny/thefts.

There were 11 robberies last year compared to three in 2016. Rapes also went up from 20 to 16. The biggest increase in police reports came from thefts, which went from 472 to 554.

Nichols said most of the thefts happened because people left their car doors unlocked.

"I don't remember the last time where we had a vehicle broke into where there was forced entry, meaning they smashed a window to get in," Nichols said. "It happens in a lot of places, but it doesn't happen here very often."

Guns are often reported stolen in car burglaries, according to Nichols.

Officers also made 20 more driving while intoxicated arrests last year compared to 2016. However, there was a 24 percent decrease in traffic stops.

"We've been down in officers this entire year, so that will affect the number of traffic stops," Nichols said.

Chief Nichols said his department hired two officers just in the last two weeks that should solve that issue.

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