Report: Crime down in Temple
Mayor says more Temple PD press releases have increased public awareness of incidents, but overall crime has dropped.
Temple Police Department has received a $20,000 grant to purchase a license plate reader. Several options are on the market, including at least one that is trailer mounted. Temple Police Chief Shawn Reynolds said the high-tech equipment will help officers reduce crime by tracking down stolen vehicles or vehicles that were identified during a crime. Courtesy photo
DAVID STONE | July 7, 2022
Although it may seem like the past year in Temple has been heavy on crime, the number of cases in several categories have actually dropped, according to statistics provided today by Temple city officials.
Murder, sexual assault and robbery all dropped significantly in 2021. Murder has dropped by 64 percent since 2018, from 14 to five last year. Also between 2018 and 2021, reported sexual assaults in Temple dropped by 42 percent and robbery dipped 51 percent.
However, aggravated assaults — which include shootings, deadly conduct and crimes involving other weapons — increased by 46 percent during that time frame. Police Chief Shawn Reynolds said aggravated assaults can include domestic and gang violence.
So far in 2022, Temple police have investigated a single homicide. Through May, the department had investigated 17 sexual assaults, 12 robberies and 109 aggravated assaults.
“Overall, crime is down in Temple,” Mayor Tim Davis said. “Temple police have worked diligently to keep the public informed when there are incidents that may impact public safety. This transparency has increased the awareness of incidents and increased false perception that crime is dramatically increasing.”
According to figures provided to Our Town Temple by the mayor, the city’s Marketing & Communications Department issued 29 crime-related press releases in 2020 and 50 during 2021. But, 80 releases already have been distributed during the first five months of 2022.
“As you can see from the data, 2021 was a remarkable year related to crime incidents in Temple,” Reynolds said. “All major crime categories were reduced and reduced significantly.”
The report also shows that other crimes have dropped since 2018 as well.
Residential burglaries are down 24 percent — from 144 in 2018 to 110 last year. Through May of this year, 26 home burglaries have been reported in Temple.
Burglary of a building cases are down 45 percent, according to the report — from 203 in 2018 to 111 in 2021. Thirty-nine cases were reported and investigated during the first five months of 2022.
Larceny is down 11 percent since 2018 — from 1,438 to 1,276 in 2021. Police investigated 517 cases through May of this year. Larceny is the theft of personal property.
Vehicle theft is up 5 percent since 2018. There were 184 unauthorized use of a motor vehicle cases reported in 2018, 193 in 2019, 326 during 2020 and 194 last year. More than 60 cases were reported during the first five months of 2022.
Total property crimes have dropped from 1,969 in 2018 to 1,691 in 2021.
While the bulk of the report shows statistical improvements in most crime categories, the rise in aggravated assaults is alarming.
“We’ve had recent shootings that indicate an increase in gang-related criminal activity,” Reynolds said. “We don’t know an exact number of how many gangs are operating in Temple, but we have identified three. And there’s another group that hasn’t been classified by the state as a gang yet, but they are operating on the fringe of violent crimes.”
Reynolds said the Temple Police Department has taken preventative measures against gang-related violence and property crimes.
“All Temple police officers are responsible for crime prevention, however we have officers trained to a higher level,” he said. “These officers are part of our Community Oriented Policing Unit.”
Community-oriented policing is a strategy of policing that focuses on developing relationships with community members and residents of Temple’s neighborhoods and business districts. Temple PD also works on building relationships at local schools, Reynolds said.
Building trust, relationships and communication with the community is part of Temple PD’s crime reduction strategy, he said.
“We have a detective assigned to the FBI’s Violent Crimes Task Force, and we work with a similar task force through the Texas Department of Public Safety,” he said. “We established an internal task force of a detective and Violent Crimes Enforcement Squad officers in March.”
“We received a $20,000 grant this year to obtain a mobile license plate reading trailer,” Reynolds said. “This will help us continue to reduce property-related crimes in Temple.”
Reynolds said the license plate reader is similar to speed-indicator trailers often seen parked at the side of a roadway. The speed-indicators let passing motorists know if they are within a posted speed limit range.
“The plate-reading trailer reads license plates of vehicles that pass by,” Reynolds said. “If we are looking for a certain vehicle, we can tell if it has passed the trailer. There are actually two options for these trailers — one stores license plate numbers and shares that information with local police. The other trailer actually alerts patrolling officers that a vehicle has been spotted.”
Temple police will be using another gadget to help capture shooters in the city. It’s called a Shot Spotter.
“This device alerts us when a shot has been fired within a square mile,” Reynolds said. “It hears a bullet leaving a gun and alerts police.”
Although Temple police are arming themselves with high-tech devices to aid in fighting crime, Davis and Reynolds said the city needs help from its residents.
“Temple has seen an increase in shooting related incidents,” Reynolds said. “The dedicated men and women of the Temple Police Department are working hard to reduce and solve these incidents, but they can’t do it alone. We encourage the community to assist in solving these crimes. If you see something, say something.”
Temple residents can call (254) 298-5500 to report a crime.
COMING THIS WEEK: Mayor Davis says continued growth is unavoidable
Market Loop Mural dedication
While most of the Market Loop Mural is a train filled with animals and funny passengers, the eastern end of the display features this apple tree. Each apple is dedicated to a child at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde who was killed during last month’s attack. David Stone photo
Our Town Temple | July 7, 2022
The city of Temple will host a community ceremony to dedicate the Market Loop Mural to McLane Children’s Hospital at 4 p.m. Friday in the Game XChange parking lot just west of South 31st Street.
Artists that created the mural will be in attendance and will be addressed by Temple Mayor Tim Davis.
The city received more than 200 art submissions from children in the community, and after selecting 45 submissions, volunteer artists replicated the artwork on the 45-panel mural.
Market Loop is a main link from 31st Street to the hospital, and the mural was designed to provide distraction and lift the spirits of young patients going to the hospital.
Not all Temple subdivisions have been a success. Take Bruner Hill, for instance. Although several large homes were built in the area that extended from 2nd Street to the Katy tracks and from Avenue G south to where the Olin E. Teague Veterans Center now stands, interest in the development never occurred and plans were scrapped.
Had the venture been successful, Temple would have major thoroughfares called Lillie Avenue, Bell Avenue and Bruner Street. All were listed on the original plat.
The largest home in the area, the Bruner home, was built in 1879, two years before Temple was officially born. It was torn down in 1835. The home would have been on today’s 8th Street (MLK), but back then it was called King’s Trail.
That’s because it was on the King Ranch trail used to drive cattle from South Texas to markets in Fort Worth. King’s Trail ran a short distance to the east of the well known Chisholm Trail and eventually was absorbed by the larger route.
Today’s best bets
Move Your Tale at Temple Public Library. 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Move Your Tale provides an exciting improv experience with opportunities to volunteer and show off your own improv skills, or to simply sit back and enjoy the wildly entertaining show. Grades K through 5. Third Floor | McLane Room
Do It Yourself Doormats at Board & Brush in Belton. 6:30 p.m. Looking for a fun way to spruce up your front porch? Join us for our DIY doormat workshop! Select a design from our gallery. We provide all the materials and instruct you step-by-step to create a beautiful piece for your home or for a gift. Choose from a variety of paint colors in the workshop. Cost for a workshop is $45 and online-registration is required. We look forward to seeing you soon! www.boardandbrush.com
Country Nights at El Puerto de Jalisco. Live music and great food and drinks. 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Texas Red’s Taproom Trivia at Fire Base Brewing. 7 p.m.
Trivia Night at Fire Street Pizza in Belton. There will be 6 rounds of themed trivia to test your knowledge of all things trivia! Other categories will include Movies, Sports, music, and more! Play from your phone! FREE to play! Join anytime. Winners walk away with FSP swag, free pizzas and bragging rights! 6 p.m.
Karaoke at Bo’s Barn. 8:30 p.m.
Friday, July 8
Family Fun Day at the Cultural Activities Center. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free movies and popcorn. Wall-E (Rated G) at 10 a.m. and Ron’s Gone Wrong (Rated PG) at 2 p.m. Tour remodeled art galleries. Frosti Cones will be selling sno cones and High 5 Hot Dogs will have a $5 lunch special. Fun activities. Bring glass to recycle and learn about the benefits of recycling.
Brad Honeycutt live at Bo’s Barn. 8 p.m. Tickets: bosbarndancehall.com
Summer Sounds Free Concert Series at the Sam Farrow Amphitheater at Lions Park. Brazos Brothers. 7:30 p.m.
Sweatin’ With The Oldies at Sammons Community Center. 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Join Kathy Patterson as she leads these extremely popular exercise sessions designed especially for those with mobility issues or who have difficulty standing while exercising. Slow stretches and comfortable balance exercises, while seated or in contact with a chair, will help tone and strengthen muscles to increase mobility and flexibility. Gradual use of hand weights and stretch bands is also incorporated. Easily adaptable for those with physical limitations. Two convenient session times to choose from. For more information, call 254.298.5403
Ghost Hunting Class at Wilson Recreation Center. Do you have an interest in the paranormal? Ever wonder what it's like to be a real ghost hunter? Try our Paranormal Studies class with paranormal investigator JohnJohn from Dark Explorers paranormal and learn all there is about becoming a paranormal investigator. Join us for this introductory class. 5:30 p.m. to. 7 p.m. $35 per person.
Lady in the Men’s Room live at Barrow Brewing Co. 8 p.m.
30th annual Seaton Star Hall BBQ Cookoff. 6 p.m. July 8, 4 p.m. July 9.
Beth Lee & The Breakups live at Fire Street Pizza in Belton. 6 p.m. Based out of Austin, TX, Beth Lee grew up on the grit and soul of the Houston music scene, her dad a long time musician of the Bayou City. Since 2008, Beth has been playing live and recording her original music with Austin musicians that have an ear for her songwriting ability. Her influences span generations of blues, country, and rock 'n' roll greats that lead her to a unique soulful, country-tinged brand of roots rock 'n' roll.
Lady in the Men’s Room live at Barrow Brewing. 7:30 p.m.
The Killer Dueling Pianos at Mayborn Center. 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. It will be evening of good-natured fun and frolic with The Killer Dueling Pianos sponsored by the Rotary Club of Temple. Proceeds from the event will support Foster Love Bell County and The 411 House. Tickets are available at https://centraltexastickets.com
and will cover food by Pizza Wings n Things and an open bar with beer and wine options. A cash bar option will be available for mixed drinks. A silent auction/raffle will also be held for various prizes. Dress casual and be ready for a good time! Bring cash to tip the pianists.
Saturday, July 9
30th annual Seaton Star Hall BBQ Cookoff. 6 p.m. July 8, 4 p.m. July 9.
Sunflower Saturday at the Farm. Halvorson’s Hidden Harvest. Join us for our annual Sunflower Saturdays on the farm. Take a hayride down and around the wild sunflower field. Open 9 to 5pm. No admission fee to come to the farm, just come enjoy the farm with the family. At the Farm Store we have cantaloupes, watermelons, tomatoes, cucumbers, yellow squash, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and of course pickles! Wagon hayrides down and around the wild sunflower field are $5/person if you order online ahead of time. Perfect stop for photos. There is no charge to pick wild sunflowers with the purchase of a wagon ride. The kids will love saying "Hi" to our cows, bunnies, and new baby goats! For directions and more info regarding the farm visit our website: https://www.halvorsonhiddenharvest.com/
Master Gardeners at Temple Public Library. Adults only. Join us for a discussion held by the Bell County Master Gardeners on choosing plants for Central Texas. 3rd Floor, McLane Room. 2 to 4 p.m.
Kids’ Night Out at Sonya’s Creativ-ish Childcare Boutique. Parents, take the night off while your kids enjoy an evening packed full of FUN! $25 for the first child, $20 for siblings. Drop-off begins at 5:45 pm. Pizza dinner is included along with unlimited play, crafts & activities. For children, ages 2-8. Pajamas encouraged; socks required. Please RSVP early!Bring a water bottle, labeled with your child's name! Pickup by 10 p.m.
Historic Escape Games at Bell County Museum. There has been a crime at the museum and it is up to you to find the culprit! You have 60 minutes to work together, solve the crime, and escape! There are 3 game themes & times (please be mindful of ages); 5:30pm (Heist - ages 14 & older); 6:45pm (Heist or Murder Mystery - ages 14 & older); 8:00pm (Murder Mystery - ages 17 & older). Tickets are $10/person. Pre-registration is required at bellcountymuseum.org. Games are private and limited to 8 guests of the same group per game time. To reserve your game, payment is required within 3 business days of submitting the registration form. Payments can be made at the museum or over the phone at (254) 933-5243.
Erica Michelle live at Barrow Brewing. 8 p.m. Farmers Market, 9-1.
William Clark Green will be LIVE at Johnny's Outback at 6 p.m.! Tickets are on sale now at www.outhousetickets.com/Event/19757-William_Clark_Green
Downtown Temple’s Summer Market & Food Truck Frenzy! We’re celebrating summer America style! Come experience the flavors of Temple and Bell County. Live music, bouncy house, vendors and more. 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Marcus Lindsey live at Bo’s Barn. 9 p.m. Tickets: bosbarndancehall.com
Sami Show: Arts & Crafts market at Bell County Expo Center Assembly Hall. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday, July 10
Sami Show: Arts & Crafts market at Bell County Expo Center Assembly Hall. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Unplugged Game Day at Temple Public Library. 2 to 4 p.m. Take a Risk, Monopolize on the fun, Checkers out (too far?) all we have to offer at our monthly all-ages board game group. Play new board games, or grab an old favorite, meet new folks, and have an overall good time. Whether you're into Settlers of Catan, Magic the Gathering, or Scrabble, we have you covered.
Live music at Barrow Brewing. 4 p.m. Summer Lecture Series at 2 p.m.
Texas Barbecue Festival at Schoepf’s. Texas Barbecue presents it's 1st Annual Texas Barbecue Festival featuring many of the Top 25 BBQ Joints in Texas from it's 2022 list. Tickets are limited to 300 and the cost is $75 per person. At the show you will get to sample food from the Top 25, hear live music (to be announced soon), other vendors, sample some wineries, and more details coming soon.
Martian Folk live at Fire Street Pizza in Belton. Noon.
Summer Lecture Series at 2 p.m. at Barrow Brewing Co. Live music TBD
Monday, July 11
Sweatin’ With The Oldies at Sammons Community Center. 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Join Kathy Patterson as she leads these extremely popular exercise sessions designed especially for those with mobility issues or who have difficulty standing while exercising. Slow stretches and comfortable balance exercises, while seated or in contact with a chair, will help tone and strengthen muscles to increase mobility and flexibility. Gradual use of hand weights and stretch bands is also incorporated. Easily adaptable for those with physical limitations. Two convenient session times to choose from. For more information, call 254.298.5403.
Trash to Treasure Totes, Sammons Community Center. 1 p.m. Go green and create a unique tote bag from plastic bags! Becca Bash will be teaching this fun and creative way to recycle and reuse those endless plastic grocery bags that get stashed away to create a beautiful, one-of-a-kind bag that could have a variety of uses. Watch that bag evolve into your own creation. Knowledge of basic crochet stitch is encouraged. A size K crochet hook is recommended. For more information, call 254.298.5403.
$1 Summer movies at The Beltonian Theatre. 10 a.m., 1, p.m. 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday. The Lego Movie 2
Tuesday, July 12
Tai Chi at Sammons Community Center. 3 p.m. This ancient Chinese exercise and martial art promote vitality, balance, strength, and longevity. Using special breathing techniques and slow, precise physical movements, Tai Chi can help curtail arthritis, respiratory disease, and high blood pressure. Regular practice of this “Moving Meditation” also provides health benefits of stress reduction, mental alertness, and increased energy. This on-going course is adaptable for all levels of mobility. Led by Christopher Dow, who has practiced this and related Chi Kung exercise forms for 42 years. For more information, call 254.298.5403.
Summer Fun for Early Learners at Bell County Museum. 10 a.m. to noon. Kids 6 years and younger are invited to the museum with their families to explore the engaging interactive exhibits and participate in fun activities and crafts. Each day will have a special theme of activities: Today is Archaeology. The events are come and go and completely FREE!
On this day in 1891, the U.S. secretary of the treasury officially opened the new port of Velasco near the site of Old Velasco, on the Brazos River a few miles upstream from the Gulf of Mexico. The former town, one of the oldest communities in Texas, saw its heyday between the early Anglo settlement of Texas and the Civil War. The first Austin colonists landed there in 1821. Velasco was important during its early days as the site of the battle of Velasco, as a temporary capital of the Republic of Texas, and as the place where Santa Anna signed the treaties that ended the Texas Revolution. But the old town, subsequently a resort, declined after the Civil War and was mostly blown away by a hurricane in 1875. The new town of Velasco was laid out in 1891 and promoted throughout the Midwest. With its new deepwater port, it flourished--complete with railroad connections, two weekly newspapers, a lively shipping industry, and a population that reached 3,000--until another hurricane, the catastrophic Galveston Hurricane of 1900, wiped the place out again. Afterward, recovery was slow and uncertain until diversion of the Brazos River and the formation of a tidal estuary deep enough to accommodate large vessels in the old river channel gave life to both Velasco and the new town of Freeport. The two towns were incorporated under the name Freeport in 1957, when the population of Velasco was about 4,000. The Velasco post office became Velasco Station. The entire area is now part of the Brazosport industrial and port area.