Police talk about rise in homicide numbers in Wichita

Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay (KSN Photo)

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Wichita saw three different homicides this weekend and with another announced Monday, there are now 36 homicides for the city.

“We do know that individual officers and extra officers have an impact on neighborhoods,” said Chief Gordon Ramsay. “And, we want to make sure we’re really focusing on community policing and solving crime.”

Chief Ramsay says the department will, after the first of the year, have gang units and a special investigator team working in a central location to share information. He said there will also be a team made of 16 officers to work on locating trends in crime.

“So, that is the ideal world, in that that’s all we’re doing is prevention,” said Ramsay. “But, there is no doubt when you have cops in the community where people know them and feel comfortable talking to them, we get more information. And the closer we get our cops to the community, the safer our cops are and the more successful we are in solving crime.”

And Ramsay said community police efforts may be one way to help stem the tide.

Right now, the department is authorized for 650 officers, and there are 17 vacancies. Chief Ramsay said a recent study showed the department could use more officers.

But, would more officers help stem the tide of violent crimes and homicides?

“Maybe yes, maybe no,” says Jame Clendenin, Wichita City Council member. “I think it’s also important to note that our police department last year solved 30 of 31 homicides. They did an amazing job last year.”

Chief Ramsay said the department has a good record of solving homicides, but he also said the homicide cases are more than just a number.

“Our thoughts go out the families of these victims,” said Ramsay. “It’s easy to put a number instead of a name and each one of these, we’ve had a lot of families and community members impacted by this. And we can’t forget that element of this as well.”

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