Crime increasing in Round Rock and other central Texas cities

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by SHANNON MURRAY / KVUE NEWS and Photojournalist DATHAN HULL

Bio | Email | Follow: @ShannonM_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on July 5, 2013 at 10:05 PM

Updated Friday, Jul 5 at 10:43 PM

ROUND ROCK, Texas -- It's considered the second safest city in America, but new numbers show major crimes in Round Rock are increasing.

Department of Public Safety crime statistics show major crimes are up 8.4 percent in Round Rock. Police and the people who live here aren't surprised.

"A lot more people. It's turned into a more urban area," said Round Rock resident Michael Eichenberger. "As a parent you don't want to bring your child up where there's crime, but you can't really avoid it."

Round Rock police told KVUE last month they expected the increase.

 "As the city and the area grows, crime will grow with it," said Sgt. Sean Johnson in June. "We know that's going to happen and we have to be prepared for that."

According to the Department of Public Safety's Annual Crime in Texas report, in 2012 there were 2,222 cases of larceny (up from 2,001 in 2011); 32 cases of rape (up from 25); and 64 aggravated assaults in 2012, compared to 49 from the previous year.

The increase is no surprise to employees at Q&T Jewelry in Round Rock. The store experienced two scary situations in less than two months.

"Nothing has ever happened like that before," said employee Michelle Miller.

In February a woman stole $9,000 dollars worth of items from the store, then lit a fire with a cup full of gasoline. In April, two men tried to rob the business, even pulling out guns on the employees. Miller was there both times.

"I was shocked. The first time, I could not believe it had happened. It was just so out of the ordinary," Miller said.

The store has increased security since then with added cameras and new guidelines for customers.

"We've added a buzzer to the door so we're buzzing people in and out," Miller explained. "We're asking customers, there's a sign that says to remove head gear and sunglasses."

Miller says after nearly 13 years in business they're not going anywhere.

"The area, as far as we're concerned, is still a good area," she said. "Our customers know we're here."

Families we spoke to agree, despite the spike in crime, they're also staying put.

"Even with some events in the past, they're far and few between. So even still, still, I think we're good," Eichenberger said.

So far this year in Round Rock there have been two murders and two officer involved shootings.

Other cities

The same DPS report shows crime rates on the rise in other Central Texas cities too:

  • Austin up 2.5 percent
  • Cedar Park up 14.7 percent
  • Georgetown up 17.1 percent

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