Tuesday, June 26, 2012
A Wichita church is working to fight violent crime. Two weeks ago, as people gathered near Central and Broadway, someone slashed the throat of a Wichita man, leaving him close to dead. It was the last straw for police and the First Presbyterian Church, which is nearby.
It’s 6:00 on a Monday night. People are gathering in front of the church in downtown Wichita, taking advantage of the benches and shade on a hot day. However, the peaceful scene has been anything but since January.
Police officers say they have responded to 19 violent crimes at this location. Just in the month of May, that number was 10.
Wichita Police Lt. James Espinoza says, "It's an opportunity to sell narcotics. A lot of people have substance problems, irritated…can turn into a fight."
The most serious attack happened two weeks ago, when someone slashed the throat of a homeless man.
"It started over a simple disturbance…losing his life over an argument,” says Espinoza.
The church spent the next day cleaning up the blood on the sidewalk and is working closely with police to stop all the violence.
Wichita resident Gan Moore says, "I would like for it to stop…nowhere to go."
The church board has voted to remove loitering.
If you have any information on any of the crimes in the area of Central and Broadway, or if you see anything suspicious, police want you to call them right away.