In what appears to be a recent spike in violent crime in Texarkana has many residents concerned.

For the average person in Texarkana who does not participate or associate with very a risky lifestyle (such as drugs), the chances of being a victim of a violent crime here is still low. -- Shawn Vaughn, Public Information Office, Texarkana, Texas Police Department.

People are worried that authorities are sometimes overwhelmed with the number of crimes committed and how many of those crimes are solved. We asked Texarkana, Texas Public Information officer Shawn Vaughn what residents can do to help see these cases solved and see people brought to justice for the crimes that are committed.

Q: What can people in these neighborhoods do to help authorities solve crimes like these? When there are drug problems in areas, how can the people living in those areas assist police?

A: The best thing that can be done is to be willing to come forward to tell what they know – even if it is done anonymously such as through Crime Stoppers.  Unfortunately, people hear and see things going on involving certain individuals or in their neighborhoods or that they know are not good but choose to turn a blind eye to it because they consider it none of their business or they don’t want any trouble.  All too often, those situations continue and grow until something serious happens.

Q: How many homicides did Texarkana, Texas have in 2015? And does the department think violent crime is on the rise (in 2016) or were these incidents unusual in that they happened so close to each other?

A: So far in 2016, we have had four homicides. There were a total of three last year.  We average fewer than 5 per year, although there is occasionally a year where we see more.  We hope that we do not have any more for the rest of the year.  I don’t believe Texarkana to be any more violent than what it was 10 or 20 years ago.

A: Social media has helped make us all more aware of things that go in our community so it might feel like crime in Texarkana might be worse than before, but the actual numbers have remained relatively consistent through the years.  The unfortunate truth is that most of the violent crime that we see is related to – with very few exceptions – either domestic violence or has connections to illegal drugs.

A: For the average person in Texarkana who does not participate or associate with very a risky lifestyle (such as drugs), the chances of being a victim of a violent crime here is still low. -- Shawn Vaughn, Public Information Office, Texarkana, Texas Police Department. For more information on the Texarkana, Texas Police Department you can go to their website.