Crime & Courts

Old Town, Wichita crime rates can’t easily be compared

Some people claimed that crime in Old Town has been going down but when you break it down by type of crime, the picture is more complicated
Some people claimed that crime in Old Town has been going down but when you break it down by type of crime, the picture is more complicated The Wichita Eagle

It’s not easy to compare the crime rate in Old Town to the city as a whole. The census only measures the population accurately every 10 years. And the census doesn’t track Old Town as a separate unit. It tracks a larger area than what the police think of as Old Town. But by one measure, Old Town has around 4,000 residents in it or nearby.

By this count, the chances of one of these residents experiencing a major crime like homicide, rape or aggravated assault while walking through Old Town were much lower between 2004 and 2014 than in the city as a whole. The one exception was robbery and assault in 2012.

And many more people come into Old Town on the weekends than those who live there. One way to judge the crime is to look at what percentage of serious crimes in the city happened in Old Town.

By this measure, Old Town appears safe. In most years, less than 1 percent of the major crimes in the city happen in Old Town, sometimes significantly less, despite the fact that Old Town has a disproportionate share of the city’s nightlife. There have been a couple of exceptions, when slightly more than 1 percent of certain crimes in the city occurred in Old Town, but it almost never happened outside of 2012.

According to the data, what the police are doing in Old Town is already working.

Oliver Morrison: 316-268-6499, @ORMorrison

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