Lawrence had a higher rate of property crimes in 2010 than average when compared with 27 other similar communities nationwide, according to the Benchmark City Survey.
Police also had a lower clearance rate in most areas than the average in solving property crimes.
Lawrence Police Chief Tarik Khatib, who was promoted to the top job in February, said the numbers and the city’s overall crime rate were part of the reason why he asked city commissioners for more resources, mainly more patrol officer positions.
“I think we do a very, very good job with the big cases, the robberies, the shootings, and we do a very, very good job with event management, like parades, games, other types of service expectations,” Khatib said. “But sometimes I feel we lose the middle ground, and the middle ground is the everyday burglary, the nuisance stuff that affects most people as far as quality of life.”
The Lawrence City Commission as part of its 2012 budget recently approved four new patrol officer positions. Khatib said he believes that was “a good start” but he would like to see the department over time be able to add about 30 more positions, including more patrol officers and crime analysts.
He said the department has made an effort to conduct special operations, like patrols to prevent crimes, including property crimes, but with the department’s current call load, that’s not feasible.
In the Benchmark City Survey, Lawrence was found to be above average in the number of calls for service per 1,000 residents (599.9) and calls for service per officer (370.2).
“There’s always something to do to be proactive, but we can’t staff that full-time,” Khatib said. “But certainly we try to do it at least some of the time with as much flexibility as we have. We make attempts to do it.”
Here is how Lawrence compared in property crimes categories in the 2010 Benchmark City Survey, which includes numbers from 28 cities across the country:
Burglaries per 1,000 residents
• Lawrence: 5.7 (20th)
• Average: 5.5
• Lowest: Naperville, Ill., 1.6
• Highest: Springfield, Mo., 13.7
Fraud and forgeries
per 1,000 residents
• Lawrence: 12.5 (27th)
• Average: 4.4
• Lowest: Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 0.6
• Highest: Lawrence. Springfield, Mo., did not track these.
Auto theft per 1,000 residents
• Lawrence: 1.8 (17th)
• Average: 2.1
• Lowest: Naperville, Ill., 0.4
• Highest: Springfield, Mo., 6.3
per 1,000 residents
• Lawrence: 10.4 (21st)
• Average: 8.5
• Lowest: Henderson, Nev., 3.6
• Highest: Springfield, Mo., 25.2
Thefts per 1,000 residents
• Lawrence: 22.0 (26th)
• Average: 15.1
• Lowest: Fremont, Calif., 5.9
• Highest: Springfield, Mo., 50.2
Vandalism per 1,000 residents
• Lawrence: 13.7 (23rd)
• Average: 8.1
• Lowest: Coral Springs, Fla., 1.6
• Highest: Lincoln, Neb., 17.0
Clearance rate for
• Lawrence: 14.9 percent (25th)
• Average: 20.9 percent
• Best rate: Overland Park, 34.8 percent
• Worst rate: Broken Arrow, Okla., 5.6 percent.