Police get tough on violent crimes after seeing increase this year

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A new study shows that Wichita is a fairly violent city.

The study detailed the 61 most deadly cities in the United States with Wichita coming in at 35th.

Wichita police Lieutenant Jeff Gilmore, with the Gang, Felony and Assault Unit, says violent crimes have been a major concern this year.

“One of the things we noticed is that we did see an increase in violent crimes, we saw an increase in aggravated assaults, aggravated batteries, as well as homicides,” said Lt. Gilmore.

From January 1st to June 30th of last year, Wichita had 10 homicides, 182 rapes and 290 robberies.

During that same time period this year, the numbers in those three categories have all gone up.

In that time frame, there were 19 homicides in Wichita.

“That was a major concern to us and one of the things we did to combat violent crime across the city to directly investigate that and to address that concern is we as a department decided to implement a violent crime task force,” said Lt. Gilmore.

Lt. Gilmore says they pulled 20 officers from the four patrol bureaus across the city.

He says their sole responsibility was to respond to violent crimes within the community.

“We implemented this team back on May 5th, the team hit the streets and they worked for 90 days,” said Lt. Gilmore.

Lt. Gilmore says the trial period for the task force wrapped up on August 4th.

“We made over 375 arrests, we contacted over 430 gang members and we removed 101 guns from the streets,” said Gilmore. “We as a department look at from August 4th in 2016 to present, there were eight homicides, if you go back to August 4th to present today, 2017, there has only been four,” he added.

That’s a 50 percent drop in homicides.

While these numbers may seem alarming, Lt. Gilmore says the department needs to stay vigilant to protect Wichitans.

“Wichita is a safe community, but we can always work hard to make it a safer community,” said Lt. Gilmore.

Lt. Gilmore says the positive results from the trial run this summer has prompted the department to look into fully implementing the task force.

He says the plan is to have it up and running by the end of this year.

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