MIDLAND, Texas — 2020 was a deadly year across the world because of COVID-19.
But the virus was not the only thing to blame here in Midland.
According to Midland Police, there were 13 homicides in 2020, and now officers are trying to figure out why.
“We had gang shootings, we had family violence issues...the homicides were spread out fairly evenly across all those different types of issues," Greg McCright, Midland Police Deputy Chief, said. "There definitely wasn't one thing that we were like alright this is causing all of our homicides this year.”
The stats are leaving officers scratching their heads as to what could be done to help get that homicide number down.
“You try to handle the things you can," McCright said. "Gang issues we have put a heavy emphasis on and working on that area as much as we can.”
Narrowing the crimes into categories like traffic, family violence, or gang-related issues is usually the first step. From there, officers can get to work.
“The problem with 2020, we can identify problems, we can see the offenders that are causing the problems but we can’t always do something about it," McRight said. "We have very strict jail regulations right now that the state is pushing. Nobody wants to be that breeding ground for COVID."
And if that is not complicated enough, there is another problem Midland Police continue to face: not having enough officers.
“We have a high volume and turnover of calls for service, so we end up trying to clear up the problem as fast as possible and move on to the next one," McCright said.
Right now Midland Police are short 35 officers.
Having more officers would make it easier for police to meet the needs of a growing community and would also help address a rising crime rate.