County’s crime rate rises
by Jason Collins
Oct 07, 2011 | 1659 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
When Sheriff Carlos Carrizales got the call last week about what at the time was a shooting/possible murder scene, his heart immediately went out to the family.

“I was thinking about the poor victims,” he said.

His other concern was that his deputies, although some have received specialized training, were going into a situation where it wasn’t known if the shooter was still inside and alive.

“I was thinking about my people getting there first,” he said.

Anything but routine

Murders in Bee County don’t occur often.

According to Texas Department of Public Safety statistics, the county, on average has no more than one killing per year.

As more and more people move into the county, resident can expect the crime rate to climb.

“Bee County and the city of Beeville are going to have to look at Eagle Ford Shale and how it is going to bring more people here,” the sheriff said.

“We are going to have more people on the streets. Even before this oil field boom we had people drive through and commit crimes.”

“It is growing with the population influx,” Carrizales said. “I am not alone in facing this type of crime rate.”

The sheriff said that small counties like Bee face the same types of crimes as larger areas.

“Because of the population, it just doesn’t happen quite as often,” he said.

Crime rate grows

In 2009, county residents reported 28 aggravated assaults, according to DPS statistics. This is an increase from 2008 when only 17 such assaults were reported to the sheriff’s office.

However, in 2007 and 2006, residents both years reported 22 aggravated assaults, which is an increase from the prior year’s 19 reports, according to DPS.

Likewise, rape has seen an increase over time.

In 2009, six offenses were reported in the county. This is double that of 2008 and 2007, when only three offenses were reported.

Burglaries too have increased over the years.

In 2009, there were 66 reports, while in 2008 there were slightly fewer at 61 reports.

However, later reports fluctuate; as in 2007 residents reported 48 burglaries, while in 2005 there were 67 burglaries.

Preventing crime

The key to prevent many crimes is a combination of help from the public and boots on the pavement — more appropriately, tires on the road.

However, having enough deputies on patrol becomes difficult as money becomes tighter.

“It is known that the more (patrol cars) visible, the more you can reduce crime,” the sheriff said.

“We have 880 square miles in the county.

“At any time we may have three deputies, sometimes two deputies, on duty.”

Needing assistance

On a typical day, this number of deputies is sufficient, but when major events occur like last week, the few deputies and investigators employed by the department aren’t enough.

It is then that Carrizales says he isn’t ashamed to call for help.

When the man shot his estranged wife and killed her parents and eventually himself, the sheriff knew he needed assistance.

“When I do my job as an investigator, my sole job is to solve the crime,” the sheriff said.

And that means putting aside egos and calling for help from the Rangers, DPS, police and even other county departments when needed.

It’s all about getting all the information that investigators can as quickly as possible.

“You only have one shot at the crime scene,” he said. “When we ask someone to assist, it isn’t that we can’t handle the situation. It is just never a bad idea to have two sets of eyes look at something.”

And every minute that passes means that the case grows slightly colder.

Speed is not only important to ensure information isn’t lost but also to help the family.

“It is frustrating for the victim because it seems like forever,” he said. “Minutes can feel like hours.”

Call for help

Carrizales was calling for the public to help by reporting any suspicious activity.

“What we can do is be more alert,” he said, speaking as a resident himself. “We must be more aware.

“Please don’t hesitate to call any law enforcement agency.”

“What it boils down to in the end is finding justice for the victim and the victim’s family,” the sheriff said.

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