An East Texas city is taking several steps to curtail violent crime after six homicides were recorded over a two-month period, exceeding the number of homicides in all of 2014.

Most of the slayings so far this year in Longview have occurred in a low-income area south of downtown. The string of homicides has also focused more attention on a police department already under national scrutiny for the death of a 17-year-old with a history of mental illness.

Officials plan to increase police patrols in the area while also pushing to increase the number of officers on the force from about 150 to 172.

Mayor Jay Dean says municipal leaders want to use city and state laws to eliminate blighted buildings that can shelter drug dealers and their customers.