January 27, 2011
Good news in the field of crime today, as the Wichita Police Chief reports crime - overall - is down significantly in Wichita. But the bad news is that one area saw a significant increase.
Crimes like rape, robbery and assault were all down in 2010, but the area of burglaries and break-ins were up significantly. The police department has taken a three-pronged approach to combat the trend.
"It was an encouraging year because we saw major crime decline 7.3 percent in 2010 compared to 2009," said Police Chief Norman Williams.
The overall numbers are very good in Wichita. Crimes like rapes, robberies and murder - all down in 2010. The only category of major crime to see a significant increase was burglary. Non-residence break-ins were up more than 23 percent, while vehicle burglaries jumped nearly 21 percent.
"We saw an increased amount of burglary-in-progress calls, and so we saw an increase in arrests because of that," explained Captain Jeff Easter, who heads up WPD's Patrol North Bureau.
Although it's tough to tell what, exactly, has caused the spike, other similar petty crimes like forgery and fraud also rose, suggesting a continued bad economy has left many without a job trying to get money that isn't theirs.
Police are doing several things to try to combat the rise in burglaries, however. First, Easter says detectives have developed a spreadsheet for citizens to download.
"The spreadsheet was developed... for citizens to download and record their valuables and serial numbers so if by chance they are a victim of a burglary, they have all that information available," Easter said.
Police also held a series of informational meetings, which produced other information that led to solving other drug and gang crimes. They're also specifically targeting burglars and thieves who are already in their system.
"By our experience, we know that burglars are the type of folks that keep committing this crime even after they're arrested," Easter said.
You can download WPD's Operation Identification spreadheet