Graphics courtesy of KBI
The Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI) has released the 2017 Kansas Crime Index Report. The report compiles crime statistics reported to the KBI by state and local law enforcement agencies across Kansas.
Locally, the KBI crime index report indicates Gardner had 18 motor vehicle reports in the last 12 months.
“We had 18 auto thefts in 2015, 10 in 2016 and 18 in 2017,” said Jim Pruetting, Gardner police chief. “We have 12 YTD, which is consistent with 2015 and 2017. Our analysis didn’t reveal any attributing factors.”
According to the KBI report, 2016 and 2017 were the first years since 2006 where motor vehicle theft has been above the 10 yr average. Criminologists believe motor vehicle thefts are replacing burglary as the main crime of opportunity due to a higher monetary return and lower probability of getting caught or injured during the commission of the crime.
Gardner reported 39 burglaries and 253 thefts.
Pruetting said the 39 burglaries were an increase over 2016 (26), but fewer than in 2014 and 2015 (44/54). “The 260 thefts are a decrease over 2016 (288), versus 261 in 2015 and 235 in 2014.
According to the KBI, statewide burglaries are 19.2 percent below the 10-year average and has been on a steady decline since 2011. The totals for 2017 were the lowest in over 15 years. Criminologists have explained this decline on several fronts. Primarily the decline in resale value of typical stolen merchandise, such as electronics, does not make it profitable.
“Burglaries are back down YTD, with 15 being reported thus far in 2018,” Pruetting said. “Again, no pattern or suspect information explains the decrease. We have increased our presence on patrol over the past few years and are significantly more proactive than in years past, which is reflected in our arrest numbers.”
“We’ve seen a significant increase in auto burglaries this year, which almost exclusively involve unlocked vehicles,” Pruetting said. GPD identified and arrested individuals who were committing the thefts in three separate groups during the early summer months, but Pruetting said the activity has recently resurfaced.
Pruetting reminded residents to lock car doors. “Don’t make things easy for criminals to steal,” he said. “Vehicle burglaries (thefts from auto) are already double what they were last year. Leaving vehicles unlocked or garage doors open creates the easy opportunities thieves look for. We’ve had several instances during the summer when 10-20 unlocked vehicles in one area have had items stolen from them. That’s an invitation to not only steal once, but to keep coming back.”
Gardner’s overall crime index per 1000 is 16.3, compared to 17.3 in Overland Park; 15.2 in Olathe; 39.8 in Mission and 63.8 in Merriam.
Gardner’s violent crime index per 100 is 1.9, compared to 1.5 in Olathe; 1.8 in Overland Park; 12.3 in Mission and 3.5 in Merriam.
Violent crime analysis
The 2017 Kansas Crime Index Report reflected that violent crime in Kansas continues to trend upward. 2017 saw an overall increase of 6.3 percent in violent crime such as murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault and battery. In the past three years, Kansas experienced a 23.1 percent increase in violent crime. The violent crime rate is currently 12.3 percent above the 10-year average.
Additionally, 176 murders occurred in 2017, which represents an 18.9 percent increase over the number of murders committed in 2016. The murder rate is the highest in the past 10 years, and 40.8 percent above the 10-year average.
The frequency of incidents involving multiple murder victims also increased in 2017, at 21.1 percent. Identifying common circumstances in murder cases is difficult as 21 percent were reported as unknown, and 21.7 percent indicated an unknown suspect. Domestic violence murders comprised 22.3 percent of the total cases, while arguments were reported in 21.7 percent. Gang activity was a factor in 11.4 percent of incidents, and drug dealing was a factor in 10.9 percent.
In 2017, 1,213 rapes were reported in Kansas, representing a 7.8 percent increase over 2016. This is 10.3 percent above the 10-year average.
Property crime analysis
According to the 2017 crime report, total property crimes in Kansas declined by 2.1 percent. However, the property crime figures in this report do not include the numerous cyber crimes which occurred in our state. The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center received 1,767 reports from Kansans victimized in 2017, indicating over $5 million in losses from cyber crimes and other internet facilitated criminal activity.