Archive for Monday, October 29, 2001

Kansas crime data lags behind nation

October 29, 2001

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— At the Kansas Bureau of Investigation's Crime Data Information Center, four data entry operators tediously key in more than 100,000 incident reports and 50,000 arrest reports about 65 percent of them coming in on paper.

"We are truly understaffed ... that is why we are pushing so hard for electronic submission," said Mary Ann Howerton, manager of the KBI's Crime Data Information Center in Topeka.

The only 2000 crime data the center has compiled comes from Wichita and Topeka police departments:

Crime was up in Wichita, where two quadruple murders last year helped push the homicide rate up from 27 in 1999 to 31 in 2000. Rapes, aggravated assaults and thefts also were up, while burglaries and robberies dropped from the year earlier. Total crimes reported rose from 20,977 in 1999 to 21,669 in 2000.

In Topeka, the number of crimes fell from 13,350 to 13,056 over the two-year period. Murders rose from 15 to 18 in 2000. Robberies, aggravated assaults and burglaries were all up, with motor vehicle thefts taking an especially big jump. Fewer rapes were reported.

But the latest complete statewide crime numbers the KBI's crime data center has available date to 1998 statistics posted on its Web site.

The state recently missed an FBI deadline for reporting statewide crime statistics, although it was able to put together on time the information on the state's two major metropolitan areas, she said.

The agency is in the midst of switching to a new reporting system, and is having to develop a whole new database on a new computer platform to get it finished.

Kansas is the 20th state in the nation to switch to the National Incident-Based Reporting System, or NIBRS.

Howerton hopes that by July of next year half of the reporting agencies will submit their reports electronically, and she figures the agency is about a year behind on the project.

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