Rape in northeast park prompts questions about security

Officials say increasing security in parks would be a major investment

WICHITA, Kansas – Safety: it is something many people take for granted especially in public areas.

“Certainly, this young lady was just jogging down the path like anybody should be able to do at 3 o’clock in the afternoon without fear of something like this happening,” said Lt. Randy Reynolds with the Wichita Police Department.

That something was rape. A woman reported on June 13th in Eastview Park that a man threatened her with a knife and pulled her behind a bush. Police arrested Benton Baskin on Monday, on suspicion of rape, aggravated criminal sodomy and aggravated kidnapping.

His capture has been attributed to good police work and cooperation between agencies and a tip from a resident who saw Baskin just 10 days after the incident in the same spot.

“We don’t want to have a serial attacker out there,” said Reynolds, “so it’s always nice when we can locate these individuals and make sure they can’t victimize anyone else.”

But could more have been done to protect this woman? City parks in Wichita have no forms of security.

There are no cameras and no patrol in any of their 127 parks and at this point there’s no move to add more the finances simply aren’t there.

While city officials declined to speak on camera, they say public safety is of utmost importance, but adding security, whether it’s people or cameras, would be a major investment.

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