Longview Police Chief Clarifies Crime Rate - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

9/20/06-Longview

Longview Police Chief Clarifies Crime Rate

      The top police officer in Longview wants to set the record straight about crime in his city.   Longview Police Chief J.B. McCaleb wants to dispel some exaggerations he says have seen airtime on other media outlets,  exaggerations giving birth to rumors that "homicides" and other crimes are on the rise in Longview.   McCaleb says his city's crime numbers are right where they've been for the last 30 years.

    "We have seen an increase in homicides this year from last year, but in a history of our city statistically , then no! we are about average in what we've seen in the last 10, 20, 30 years" he says.

   Statistics compiled by the department show 253 homicides in Longview since 1976, and average of 8 per year. This year, the city has had 9. Chief McCaleb says he is annoyed that reports from other media outlets paint Longview as a city with an alarming crime rate.

    "We are very concerned about any homicide or any aggravated offense, repetition of reports add to that, bad news sells, so quite often that's what gets first run on the news" says McCaleb.  

    It's Longview's south side that has been the focus of a lot of media attention over the past 2 years with numerous shootings and homicides. A focus McCaleb says was out of proportion. Another alleged misinformation deals with the Gregg County Fair. One report claimed more security was being added to the fair because of Longview's troubled south side. Organizers say that's just not the case.

     "In my 23 years here our security is strictly for crowd control out here to help people have a great time with no incident whatsoever, and that's all the security is for"  says Gregg County Fair organizer Billy Clay.

    "Increase number of officers working at the fair has nothing to do with whatever crime has occurred in our city" the chief says.

    Chief McCaleb says his officers continue to a high rate of success in solving homicides and other violent crimes.

Bob Hallmark, reporting:  bhallmark@kltv.com .    

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