Residents, Police Chief Address Issue of Safety in Lubbock

LUBBOCK, TX - On Monday, February 5, Lubbock Chief of Police Greg Stevens called for a press conference addressing the first five homicides of the new year as well as the issue of safety in the city of Lubbock. 

This time in 2017, Lubbock Police were investigating two homicides. When compared to the five in just the first month of 2018, Chief Stevens acknowledged that while the numbers are alarming to residents and the department itself, he assured that the crimes were not random and should not impact the safety or security of the everyday, law-abiding Lubbock citizen.

"People want to know if they're safe living in our city or visiting our city. Our goal is not just to address crime but the fear of crime," said Stevens."We recognize that hearing about five homicides in the first month of the new year, that shatters your feeling of safety, your fear of crime."

Chief Stevens said that the goal of the new Lubbock police stations is to tackle crime in all parts of the city and encourage community policing. 

"It's the foundation of community policing," said Stevens. "You simply cannot police a city of a quarter of a million people and a 134 square miles from one centralized facility. We have to decentralize our operations so that basically rather than one police station for that large of a city, you will have three for about 80,000 residents." 

For longtime Lubbockite, former city councilman and officer, Floyd Price, he agrees that while the numbers of homicides are jarring, he feels safe in Lubbock, adding that people should never associate particular parts of town with certain crimes.

"'If you say, 'Oh, I don't have to worry about it because this is a good neighborhood'...You're going to be in for a rude awakening. It ain't got anything to do with where you live. It's how you live," said Price. 

According to Price, the bigger issue at hand is the urgency of helping teens and young adults who find themselves involved in drug or violent crimes, adding that reintroducing a curfew law would help. 

 "For every gun that young teenagers have, it has passed through the hands of an adult first. I can't tell Chief Stevens how to run his department, I never would do that, I'm just saying the city may want to look into a curfew center to get our young people off the streets at a certain time." 

For downtown business owner, Martha Jimenez, she shared that while some people may have their assumptions of downtown, she feels safe. 

"I can be decorating my cakes, I'll leave my doors open, they'll come in and buy a cookie or pastries or - I'll sell it to them, it could be midnight," said Jimenez. "A lot of people feel that downtown Lubbock isn't safe. I've never had any problems."  

She has owned Jimenez Bakery since 1969 and shared that her personal safety goes beyond statistics and numbers reported. That instead, it's all about trust when it comes to her customers.

"I've had people, my own customers, go all the way to my house to let me know my doors are open," Jimenez said. "And then someone will stay here to guard the place while I'm on my way over here. It's a safe place. If you're in the right place. Now if you go looking for trouble, then you will find trouble." 

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