Major crime is up nearly 9 percent in Wichita through the first nine months of this year — but most of that increase comes from a single category, Police Chief Norman Williams said Thursday.
Crime numbers have fallen in five of the seven serious crime categories — murder, robbery, aggravated assaults, burglaries and auto thefts. But the number of larcenies has jumped nearly 16 percent, and rape reports are up as well.
Williams said he is often asked if Wichita is safe. These numbers, he said, provide the basis for his answer.
“Yes, Wichita is safe,” he said.
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Murders have dropped from 22 to17, robberies from 381 to 360, burglaries from 2,980 to 2,944 and auto thefts from 1,351 to 1,223.
Rapes are up from 177 to 199 — a statistic that Williams called “a double-edged sword.”
Most victims are raped by acquaintances, not strangers, he said. The increase reflects more willingness to report the crimes — something that simply wasn’t done several years ago.
There is no evidence that the number of “stranger rapes” is increasing, he said.
Police officials are working with businesses to help them cut down on larcenies, he said. Drilling into the numbers shows increases in thefts of wallets and purses at health clubs and offices.
Shoplifting has also increased significantly, he said.