WPD Chief: Crime rate up slightly in 2012
There was a little bad news and a little good news in Wichita Police Chief Norman Williams' annual report of crime statistics to the citizens.
The overall crime rate increased by about two percent, but the rate of crimes solved also increased.
"Last year we had 69,487 total crimes that impacted our community," Williams said, "compared to 68,002 that occurred in 2011."
The increase in crime rate was pushed mainly by a big jump in larcenies, or simple thefts. In 2011, there were 14,302 reported larcenies, compared with 16,241 the following year. The most commonly stolen items were cash, cell phones, purses, handbags and wallets, credit cards and other bank cards.
Williams said a thief has a simple objective in mind when a crime of opportunity presents itself.
"I need to steal something that I can convert into cash in a short amount of time and not be apprehended," Williams said.
Violent crime stayed more or less in line with recent trends. There were 28 homicides in 2012, compared with 27 the previous year. There were 261 reported rapes in 2012, an increase of 30. There were 510 robberies and 1,350 aggravated assaults.
Detectives technically solved 100 percent of 2012's homicides, even though there were two unsolved deaths. That is because they made up for the unsolved cases by solving two previous cases from 1996 and 2010.
The department also reports solving 81.1 percent of reported rapes, 35.7 percent of robberies, 72.3 percent of aggravated assaults, 14.1 percent of burglaries, 21.1 percent of larcenies and 22.2 percent of auto thefts.
There were seven gang-related homicides in 2012, which is well below the five year average of 13. In 2007, 23 people died in gang-related violence.
One the streets, there were 24 traffic-related fatalities, slightly more than the average of 22.8.
Chief Williams said his department will continue to work within the community to prevent crime before it happens.
"There is no way that we can provide for a safe and secure community by ourselves. Wichita is 164 square miles," the chief said. "But what we can do, and what we've done, is build relationships with our citizens."