While the overall crime rate fell nearly 3 percent last year, the five-year highs for rapes (8 percent more than in 2013) and robberies (up 15 percent) are cause for concern – and deserve special attention as the city seeks a new police chief this year. What’s driving the numbers? Is there anything the Wichita Police Department can do not just to investigate these serious crimes but to prevent them, perhaps with the aid of community and neighborhood groups? Last year’s 20 drive-by shootings involving gangs also grabbed attention, especially because 2014 also saw the fewest gang arrests since 2009. If the year’s total 26 homicides also represented a spike over 2013, it’s encouraging that all but two have been solved. – Rhonda Holman
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