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Sheriff recaps Lantana crime stats

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Denton County Sheriff SUV
Denton County Sheriff SUV

With a 16 percent increase in the number of households, Lantana saw a slight uptick in the numbers of calls for service from 2013 to 2014, according to Denton County Sheriff Will Travis.

In 2013, the sheriff’s office received a total of 2,499 calls for service. In 2014, the calls for service totaled 2,939. Fire and emergency service calls accounted for about 30 percent of the calls with 305 last year.

The sheriff’s office took a total of 141 reports and made a total of six arrests in 2014. In 2013, deputies took 112 reports with seven arrests.

Travis said most of the reports dealt with vehicle burglary crimes though some reports of fraud, criminal mischief, burglary of habitation, theft, assault and animal bites were among the total incidents reported last year.

Visibility has been key, Travis said, to keeping the numbers from climbing higher, especially in light of the high growth, FM 407 becoming a four-lane thoroughfare and the additional businesses opening nearby.

“We’ve done a proactive role rather than reactive,” Travis told board members of Fresh Water District No. 6 during a recent meeting. “In the summertime, we’re putting our crime prevention officers out here. … I think it’s done really well.”

In response to a query, Travis said he anticipated some issues with a new grocery store opening soon, especially with theft by children of small items. “There’s no question it is going to impact things,” he said.

Travis, who is re-aligning the current four sheriff’s patrol districts into six districts to increase coverage, said he expected to start having a deputy in Lantana 24-7 as of April 1.

Though he’d like to have a substation nearby, one has not yet been offered. “I would love to have a substation visible here,” he said.

Several board members asked Travis about a chase through the streets of Lantana one afternoon in late January resulting in the arrest of an 18-year-old former Lantana resident who was charged with theft in addition to evading arrest/detention.

Travis told the board a senior deputy was behind the wheel of the patrol car and, when he passed the suspect, was able to quickly turn around and pursue him. Travis said the deputy would have stopped the chase if he noticed any safety concerns.

“We’re very particular about our chases,” he said. “We come back and watch our chases,” Travis added, referring to the video-equipped patrol vehicles and the department’s policy to review all chases to ensure they were engaged properly.

“Anything to make it safer, that’s what we’re going to do,” the sheriff said.

Travis was also queried on the status of the detention of two Lantana men in early February in connection with a cyber-tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) regarding sexually explicit images of children being uploaded to their computer accounts.

Travis said keeping children safe has been a mission of his since his campaign for office. He said though the men have not yet been arrested, the investigation was ongoing and he expected it to occur soon.

He told board members that he contacted the (NCMEC) once he was elected to make sure he would be alerted if someone was downloading large amounts of child pornography.

“It’s our kids and that’s our future and that’s the way it’s going to be as long as I’m sheriff,” Travis said.

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