AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT)— According to the Amarillo Police Department, the city is seeing a rise in shootings, aggravated assaults, and deadly conduct cases this year.
Cpl. Jeb Hilton with the Amarillo Police Department said this year, there have been 14 homicides with 12 of those being from gunfire.
Hilton said this trend of shootings and gun violence is not just a trend that increasing in Amarillo.
“It’s a national thing, where we are seeing it more,” Hilton said. “It’s kind of good and bad. It’s not just happening here, that’s a positive. A negative is we are seeing more of it just like everybody else is.”
Hilton said this time last year they had 208 cases and this year they have 241.
“Actually, the year before that we were down a little bit, and then we have just seen a rise every year since,” Hilton said. “So we have to deal with that, it’s something that we see and we are hearing more, and obviously, people are seeing and hearing about it more. We just have to figure out a way to have people call us when those are happening and figure out a way for us to get those guns off the street.”
Hilton said they are also seeing more young kids with guns and they trying to figure out how they are getting their hands on them.
“We have people that don’t need guns that have guns and it’s something we have more and more and it’s leading to more and more violence,” Hilton said. “I don’t know if it’s the stress, the economy, the different things that add up to make it a bad situation.”
Hilton said they are working with local and federal agencies to get these numbers down. Hilton added that the department has started to work with the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to help collect ballistic evidence, track down some of these cases and get more of them solved.
“We have seen our shooting response team is going out and doing a lot better work and are able to put these cases through the courts quicker,” Hilton said. “We are doing a lot of things that are helping, it just hasn’t got those numbers going down yet.”
Hilton said one thing the public can do to help is by making sure their guns are locked up. Especially when left in a car to enter a place where they’re not allowed, or at home where they can be placed in a safe. The department also encourages residents to reach out to them and report when they hear gunshots.