Police face challenge of growing city, use Facebook to catch criminals

Boerne adding nearly 1,000 new resident a year

BOERNE, Texas – Sitting in his office, Boerne Police Chief James Kohler has seen the changes in Boerne firsthand. He has worked for the department since 1990. 

“We’ve seen (since) last year, overall, police activity up 42 percent,” he said, “which is huge for us, and we’ve addressed that in various different ways.”

The increase is even more noticeable when going back four years. Since 2013, calls for service have increased 250 percent. 

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Those calls for service come as Kendall County is adding about six new people a day. 

And while the number of calls have increased, what hasn't is the crime rate. 

Crime statistics the department reports to the FBI showed that from 2015 to 2016 robbery, aggravated assault, burglary and theft all decreased, while rapes and auto thefts increased. 

Overall, the city’s most serious crimes dropped more than 14 percent. 

SLIDESHOW: 2016 crime statistics

“What it boils down to is (that) this is a different type of community,” Kohler said. “It has a very low crime rate and that has sustained itself over a period of years.”

While crime numbers remain low, Kohler, since becoming chief six years ago, has turned to social media to help solve crime.

RELATED: BPD arrest two accused of breaking into dozens of vehicles

“I think it’s, whether it is the media or social media, it gets a lot more attention,” he said. 

Kohler launched the department’s Facebook page when he became chief and he said it has been helpful in solving cases.

“Social media has helped us tremendously,” he said. “I think you will see a lot more police departments doing that.”

Located just off the interstate and close to a major city, the chief said he did not think those factors played a huge factor in crime, but added, “It is easy access. It is easier for them to get onto Interstate 10 and go to San Antonio or come here.” 

The department will continue to grow along with the city, Kohler said. He said they could add one to three officers in the next year. 

Click here to see more crime statistics listed on BPD's website.


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