Old Town seeing economic growth with drop in crime

WICHITA, Kan. — Crime is down in Old Town as the area continues to grow with more and more investments planned for the tourist and entertainment area.

From what the area was over 20 years ago to what it has become now with thriving businesses and bars to supplement the nightlife.

According to the numbers, non-residential burglary has dropped from 47 to 14 cases and rape from 7 to 5. Also, residential burglary is down from 23 to 17 and vandalism which is always a big problem is also dropping from 260 cases in 2012 to 217 last year.

Despite the three murders in the last two years in Old Town, the overall drop in crimes is what officials say is spurring investment in the area.

It has been a major step in the right direction after a string of crimes in recent years. Efforts to keep Old Town safe and make it better are finally getting results.

“I can tell you we’ve seen a drastic decline down in reported crimes in Old Town,” said Capt. Jose Salcido.

“I know that any situations that have arisen are taken care of with better security measures or eliminating those places that may have been attracting some of that negative attention to the area, so I think it’s great,” said Trace Wilson, B. Young Salon.

With new businesses like B. Young Salon opening their doors and several other apartments and groups setting up shop, officials and residents are buzzing at the potential the area has to truly make a comeback.

“They saw a problem, it’s being addressed and it’s already improved I think from where it started,” said Wilson.

Police say they’re seeing significant changes and attribute the drop in crime to their proactive approach to stopping crime and cultivating relationships with people in the community.

“We try to strengthen that partnership as much as we can, more so than it is already so when issues come up it’s not a surprise to them or us,” said Salcido with the Wichita Police Department.

And with so much untapped potential in Old Town, there is no telling what may come next.

“The safer you make it, the more you can attract conventions, tourism, the more businesses thrive down there. Like the Looney Bin coming in, a great thing, you wouldn’t think you would hear that from the police but the more people that come and spend their money in our town the better,” said Salcido.

There is a lot of enthusiasm for what’s to come in the next few years. Residents have expressed interest in seeing many different things coming to the Old Town are, one of the big hopes being a grocery store.

Only time will tell if that wish will will be granted.

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