KELLER — Despite a population that continues to grow, the number of crimes in Keller have decreased.In 2012, crimes such as murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, theft and auto theft decreased by 23 percent over the previous year, according to a report released recently by Keller police."That is a significant decrease in crime," said Mark Hafner, director of public safety and police chief.Hafner credits not only the 50 officers that serve the city of about 40,000, but also the residents."We focus our efforts on residential crime," he said. "And the residents, they feel very comfortable calling 911 and reporting suspicious persons in the community."Hafner said another correlation to lower crime is the citizens use of the police department’s community room, where groups such as home owner associations, women’s clubs and little league meetings are held.At the meetings, police staff talk to the groups about the latest trends and tell them how they can be the eyes and ears of the community."I think now we have a more engaged citizenry," he said. "It’s not just police, it’s police and the people."’In 2012, police responded to 28,725 calls from citizens, and officers initiated 61,484 calls for service, showing a decrease by 7 percent in citizen initiated calls and an 8 percent increase in officer initiated calls. Since 2003, crime has decreased from 16.30 crimes per 1,000 in population to 10.05 per 1,000 in population.In 2003, the city had 538 crimes in the "Part 1" category of murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, theft and auto theft. Nine years later with a population increase of 7,000, the city had 136 less crimes.Hafner said the last time the city experienced a 400 Part 1 crime count was in 1999 when the population was only 24,000."This is impressive when you also consider the population growth on our western border in Fort Worth," Hafner said.Hafner said two areas officers are working to decrease is shoplifting at Kohl’s and car burglaries.Hafner said to help prevent car burglaries, officers and police volunteers put notes on cars warning the driver that items of value were left in plain sight.The more people become educated about hiding valuables, the more car burglaries decrease, Hafner said."By doing those things, we were able to decrease the crime rate 23 percent for those thefts," he said.Mayor Pat McGrail said the decrease in crime is another example of why Keller has become "the city of choice" in North Texas."This is a community that deserves the very best work possible from its police force and numbers like these show me that our citizens and business owners are getting just that," McGrail said.