Study shows residents have skewed view of Waco crime

POSTED: Tuesday, March 1, 2011 - 5:30pm
UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 9:54am

WACO -- Baylor Sociologists are teaming up with police. They met with Waco City Council Tuesday to talk about a study that shows although crime is down, there is a concern for people living in Waco that the city has a crime problem.

That's according to a new study directed by Baylor Sociologist, Dr. Martha Sherman.

Waco police assure us crime has dropped over the years and concerns are more physiological.

"Those are violent crimes, and once they start thinking that could have been me, or it could have happened to me, people may tend to dwell on that a little more and become maybe overly concerned," says Sgt. Patrick Swanton with the Waco Police Department.

Whatever the reason people have an exaggerated view of crime in Waco,  the director of the study says fear can be dangerous.

"If people think their place is crime ridden, then they don't go outside because they're afraid. If you're not going outside, then you're not observing, you're not being able to participate in your community, don't know you're neighbors. So you're not watching out for each other, and you're not noticing if something is going on in your neighborhood that might be a crime," explained Dr. Sherman.

Residents say two things can be done to make them feel safer: better street lighting and more patrol officers.
Dr. Sherman says these are common requests, and through new initiatives for citizen police and neighborhood watchmen Waco has become safer.

"People can be involved. I hope that they see that being involved in those can actually benefit their community, and it is a worthwhile adventure, it's not a time waster. It will help," says Dr. Sherman.

She joined Waco police to present their findings to the city council in hopes they can help fund areas that need improvement and hear what good police have done with the city's money so far.

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