by: Ryan Chandler
LUBBOCK, Texas — Lubbock Police Chief Floyd Mitchell presented the department’s 2021 crime data to City Council on Tuesday, reporting mixed trends and stressing the public’s responsibility in public safety.
Property crimes fell across the board for a decrease of about 10 percent, with 9,725 total incidents of burglary or larceny.
LPD reported 31 homicides in 2021, five fewer than the previous year. Chief Mitchell said law enforcement has identified subjects in each case except for two. The vast majority were committed with handguns, many of them stolen.
The report attributed 11 additional homicides to vehicular crimes, with intoxicated driving blamed for eight and speed for three.
Of the 8,408 traffic crashes last year, 44 crashes caused 47 fatalities. Notably, those crashes killed 12 pedestrians – more than one in four of all traffic deaths.
Mitchell said he believes the city’s numbers are trending in the right direction. Yet, he is particularly troubled by the steep rise in vehicular crime. Chief Mitchell took particular care to stress the public’s responsibility to drive safely.
“There’s absolutely no reason why we should have had 47 fatalities in our roadways last year,” Chief Mitchell said. “And these are incidents where people are driving too fast, they are losing control of their vehicle… speed has been a problem, and we need people to slow down.”
Chief Mitchell also stressed the need to remove firearms from the streets, as stolen firearms are involved in a disproportionate number of homicides.
“Take your gun out of your car… we’re not that sleepy town anymore,” he said. “That gun is doing you no good in an unlocked car while you’re in the house.”
Mayor Dan Pope expressed his desire to see more efforts taken to remove firearms from the community, offering the potential for support from the city council.
“I would like to see a plan for us to take more guns off the street. I think this council would be willing to help find a way to fund that,” Mayor Pope said. “That’s one way we get the community to help us.”
LPD reported measurable improvements in their capabilities to respond to crimes. Their response time to Priority One calls fell by more than a minute to just 5:49, down from 7:03 in 2020. Chief Mitchell attributed the department’s three new patrol stations and additional dispatch channel for the improvements.
“We would love to live in a community where there is no crime, but we know we have a county population of over 320,000. We are going to have that element in our community. I am pleased with the direction we are going, but there’s still work to be done.”