Neighborhood talks safety after little girl assaulted

(KSN photo)

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – After news broke of a little girl being assaulted in west Wichita very early Sunday morning, neighbors awoke to a large police presence outside their homes.

“Cop cars were everywhere,” explains Jane, a neighbor who did not want to use her real name. “I mean that’s good. They were everywhere.”

Jane also says she always locks her doors, and encourages her neighbors to do the same. And, she says, while she does not know the particulars about how someone got inside a townhouse to assault the little girl, she says they have been conscious of safety in her neighborhood.

“We had to put a whole new light and a pole in over there that just went in by where the trash is,” says Jane. “This one has been out over here and we’ve gotten that all fixed up and everything, so we do have some new lights in that we’ve had before but we’re just trying to get them fixed. It’s not a cheap proposition and it’s not an easy one to get all the bids together to get it done, but it has happened.”

Jane says they are talking about getting the neighbors together to talk about safety or any concerns. Officers say that’s a great idea.

“The value of a neighborhood watch association cannot be overstated,” says Lt. Lin Dehning, with the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Department. “The value that comes from neighbors knowing each other and looking out for each other is key to crime prevention in any community.”

Lt. Dehning points out that very determined criminals are tough to stop. And, he says, he is not speaking specifically about the neighborhood where the little girl was assaulted. But he says neighbors getting together has value.

“But getting to know your neighbor’s habits, what type of car they drive, how they park their cars, when they come and go from their homes, when they are on vacation, that is invaluable as far a crime prevention goes,” says Dehning. “That relationship is better than any alarm system.”

Jane says there is no formalized plan or a date to have a community get-together, but it’s on the way.

“I think it would be very helpful if we had the owners and their tenants to come together,” says Jane. “It’s something to talk about and I’m sure we will.”

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