Big problem in a small town: Pampa Police need your help

PAMPA, TX - A rise in crime in the small, quiet city of Pampa is causing concern for residents and local law enforcement.

The department recorded a nearly 20-percent rise in both burglaries and assaults during 2011.

The city reported 161 residential and commercial burglaries and 437 assaults last year.

Pampa Crime Prevention Officer Stormy McCullar says the department plans on targeting crime through a working relationship with residents.

The Pampa Police Department is wanting residents to sign up for their neighborhood watch program.

McCullar says without the keen eyes and ears of residents, it's a lot harder to crack down on criminal activity.

"We are having these burglaries and it's very important we make the community aware of it, McCullar said. "We have to have community involvement to catch criminals and just don't have the manpower to do that ourselves."

The city really doesn't have an explanation as to what is causing the spike in crime in a town with just over 17,000 residents.

"It could be drug related, the economy, or someone who just moved into town and decided to commit burglaries," she said.

Police say they are following leads but wouldn't tell us whether they have made any arrests.

Pampa PD also says the thieves aren't targeting any one particular side of town.

Several departments across the state have begun the process of letting officers work 4 10-hour shifts instead of 5 8-hour shifts so increased police presence can be seen during peak hours.

McCullar also says the department plans to hire another patrol officer shortly.

Anyone with information about burglaries or other criminal activity in Pampa is urged to call police at 669.5700.