Archive for Monday, June 13, 2011

Survey shows Lawrence crime rate higher than average in several categories

June 13, 2011


2011 Lawrence Crime Maps

A set of interactive Google maps providing a breakdown of crime in Lawrence in 2011.

As the Lawrence City Commission prepares to discuss resources for the Lawrence Police Department in a study session at 4 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, numbers from a recent survey including 27 other cities showed Lawrence’s crime rate was higher than the average in many categories.

Lawrence Police Chief Tarik Khatib, who was promoted to the job in February, has said the department needs more patrol officers to help with a community policing initiative aimed at reducing crime. Khatib has requested $1.2 million from the commission to add 10 patrol officers, a detective, three sergeants and some equipment. It would amount to a 1.4-mill increase to the city’s property tax rate, or $32 per year more annually for the owner of a $200,000 home.

The study session also could involve discussion about long-term plans for the department, including a desire to have the department housed in one facility.

“I hope we can come up with a five- to seven-year plan to address both (staffing and facilities). It’s tight right now,” Commissioner Hugh Carter said. “But the first thing we need to get a handle on is to find out what we’re really up against and to come up with a timeline.”

Here are some statistics from the 2010 Benchmark City Survey, which includes 28 police departments in cities from across the nation:

Crimes per 1,000 residents

  • Lowest: Naperville, Ill., 16.0
  • Highest: Springfield, Mo., 103.7
  • Average among cities: 33.6
  • Lawrence: 47.4 (27th highest of 28)

Violent crimes per 1,000 residents

  • Lowest: Edmond, Okla., Naperville, Ill., 0.9
  • Highest: Springfield, Mo., 8.3
  • Average: 2.7
  • Lawrence: 3.6 (24th highest)

Property crimes per 1,000 residents

  • Lowest: Naperville, Ill., 15.1
  • Highest: Springfield, Mo., 95.4
  • Average: 31.0
  • Lawrence: 43.7 (27th highest)

Domestic violence offenses per 1,000 residents

  • Lowest: Edmond, Okla., 0.6
  • Highest: San Angelo, Texas, 16.7
  • Average: 5.7
  • Lawrence: 8.6 (22nd highest)

Fraud and forgery offenses per 1,000 residents

  • Lowest: Coral Springs, Fla., 0.3
  • Highest: Lawrence, 12.5
  • Average: 4.3

Calls for service per 1,000 residents

  • Lowest: Naperville, Ill., 274.4
  • Highest: Broken Arrow, Okla., 829.5
  • Average: 462.3
  • Lawrence: 599.9 (23rd highest)

Calls for service per officer

  • Lowest: Bellevue, Wash., 196.7
  • Highest: Broken Arrow, Okla., 661.3
  • Average: 323.9
  • Lawrence: 370.2 (21st highest)

Officers per 1,000 residents

  • Lowest: Fremont, Calif., 0.85
  • Highest: Springfield, Mo., 2.06
  • Average: 1.43
  • Lawrence: 1.62 (23rd highest)

Other area cities involved in the 2010 survey include Overland Park; Olathe; Lincoln, Neb.; Fort Collins, Colo.; Norman, Okla.; and Boulder, Colo.


Benjamin Roberts 6 years, 11 months ago

Crimes per 1,000 residents Lowest: Naperville, Ill., 16.0 Highest: Springfield, Mo., 103.7

Violent crimes per 1,000 residents Naperville, Ill., 0.9 Highest: Springfield, Mo., 8.3

Property crimes per 1,000 residents Lowest: Naperville, Ill., 15.1 Highest: Springfield, Mo., 95.4

Officers per 1,000 residents Lowest: Fremont, Calif., 0.85 Naperville, Ill, 1.18 (4th lowest) Highest: Springfield, Mo., 2.06 Lawrence: 1.62 (23rd highest)

Lawrence Police Chief Tarik Khatib's conclusion: "...the department needs more patrol officers..."

Naperville, Ill has the lowest crime rate, lowest violent crime rate, lowest property crime rate and the 4th lowest officer ratio. Springfield, Mo has the highest crime rate, highest violent crime rate, highest property crime rate and the highest officer ratio.

How does the survey support Khatib's conclusion?

tolawdjk 6 years, 11 months ago

My thoughts exactly. The data doesn't support the assertion. Maybe Khatib needs to look into what Naperville (for example) is doing with the police they have and compare that to what his dept. is doing.

I also have to wonder how income factors into all of this. Naperville isn't a stand alone burg. In fact, I would call it more Johnson Co. than Douglas Co., if you catch my meaning. Socioeconomics has to play in this somehow.

justoneperson 6 years, 11 months ago

I don't necessarily think throwing more officers out there is going to make a difference, but you can't compare the number of officers now to the current crime rate.

You would need to compare the average rates of officers from the past to the current crime rates to determine whether increasing would make a dent. (i.e. what if Springfield had a high rate of crime and recently increased their force to counter the problem?)

The safety and security of the "student ghetto" ought to be looked into (like lighting a path from downtown to the campus area). It seems to me (although I don't go out late that often anymore) that the city has also increased foot patrols downtown?

50YearResident 6 years, 11 months ago

It looks to me like Lawrence is second highest, just under Springfield. Maybe it is just the reporting method or system as I do not feel unsafe here in Lawrence,

equalaccessprivacy 6 years, 11 months ago

Boy, Lawrence sure has a high fraud and forgery crime rate. Likely it's mainly KU's fault. I've never had to deal with that level of bad faith and dishonesty among campus administrators before and hope to never again.

kansasredlegs 6 years, 11 months ago

Apparently, the other communities in the survey do not have Dillons stores which take just about any check not written in crayon and never request identification before accepting.

pizzapete 6 years, 11 months ago

Interesting you should say that, I had a check book stolen and the checks were cashed at Dillons.

beatrice 6 years, 11 months ago

I blame the conceal and carry laws in Lawrence.

Since everyone is potentially armed, citizens who ordinarily would step in to help prevent a crime if they saw one taking place are now hesitant to get involved to stop crimes in progress because they are afraid they will get shot by one of the many law-breaking conceal and carry gun owners. That is just the honest truth.

Oh, and I'm completely pulling your leg and don't actually believe any of this. Last I saw the crime rate was lower around the country, including places with and those without conceal and carry.

Scott Morgan 6 years, 11 months ago

Honesty and openness is the first step to solving this problem.

whatupdown 6 years, 11 months ago

A better measure might be average age and percent/number of rentals/apts

ljwhirled 6 years, 11 months ago

Ding Ding Ding. Whatupdown for the win.

We have a ton of 18 to 24 year old males when compared to many of these other communities.

Kids, even GOOD kids, tend to:

drink and fight drink and crash drink and steal

Plus, some small percentage become seriously twisted and rape, abuse, and commit more serious crimes.

Sean Williams 6 years, 11 months ago

Bonus round: What about an initiative that focuses on responsible (& legal) drinking? (See, Lincoln NE & Columbia MO -- a high police presence and frequent arrest pattern have discouraged underage drinking and overt drunken behavior, according to my sources on those City's streets. "People generally understand that having a designated driver is imperative and that they will get arrested AND PROSECUTED for offenses in Columbia. The general demeanor is much more adult & responsible than in Lawrence, KS," I was told by a late twenties-something who partied in both cities.)
The real correlative may be in the "drinking and..." (as you suggest). More cops in the right place would be preventative. And an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

kansasredlegs 6 years, 11 months ago

George: Did the Lawrence Police Department pay any of our tax money to participate in or purchase the data from the organization that put out the information?

If so, full disclosure was warranted.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 11 months ago

Disappointed progressives are at fault.

over_par 6 years, 11 months ago

Let's think about this..... If our police officers are taking more reports on crime than most places, wouldn't it be reasonable to assume they are sitting in a parking lot writing reports on the computers in the car? I'll chip in my $32 a year.

Food_for_Thought 6 years, 11 months ago

You're completely missing the point. The police that the department already have can't be as "highly visible" as they need to be to deter crime, because they're busy typing up reports they've already responded to. You can only be so "proactive". 12-16 police officers can't be in all places at all times to prevent crime in a city that spans roughly 28 square miles. What you're asking is unreasonable and suggests that you should do some more research into the topic you're arguing.

gatekeeper 6 years, 11 months ago

Over and over I see multiple officers pulled up side by side talking, not writing reports. The lot at the funeral home on 6th seems to be their social spot.

tolawdjk 6 years, 11 months ago

My experience and impression of Naperville is exactly the same. They had a poor part of to Naperville. It is called Westside Chicago. The middle class area of Naperville is actually known as Aurora, Illinois.

Adrienne Sanders 6 years, 11 months ago

For these comparisons to mean anything, wouldn't Lawrence have to be compared to cities with like populations, i.e. other college towns for example?

jafs 6 years, 11 months ago

Of course.

It's very hard to evaluate if they're comparing very different sizes and kinds of towns.

I'd be interested to know where we stand relative to other college towns with about $100,000 residents.

MyName 6 years, 11 months ago

Well I think if you look at the survey, probably all of the "Other Cities" the reporter mentioned at the end of the article are worth comparing to Lawrence for different reasons.

Clark Coan 6 years, 11 months ago

Yes, you can't cherry-pick the towns to fit your preordained conclusion. You would have to look at all of the college towns with populations between say 60,000 and 120,000.

jafs 6 years, 11 months ago

That's a pretty wide swath - why not narrower?

There are obvious differences between a town of 60,000 and 120,000 just based on the population doubling.

guppypunkhead 6 years, 11 months ago

Lawrence would have a lot less crime if there were better drug-abuse care and mental health care here. We don't need more cops.

somedude20 6 years, 11 months ago

Maybe for $1.2 million Lawrence hires The Police to preform a set of their classic songs to help soothe the savage beasts the rest their heads in L-Town. This might stop crime!

rtwngr 6 years, 11 months ago

I think Merrill should cut and paste something on this subject.

Jock Navels 6 years, 11 months ago

more cops will equal more recorded crime.

Jock Navels 6 years, 11 months ago

more cops will equal more recorded crime.

labmonkey 6 years, 11 months ago

How many times have there been multiple officers at that hotel across the street from Hallmark setting up a speed trap? Seems there is better use of officer time than setting up clandestine speed traps.

tolawdjk 6 years, 11 months ago

Speedtraps are the low effort/high revenue stream that keeps fresh donuts on the breakroom table. Investigating "crime" is "work".

Forever 6 years, 11 months ago

I don't understand this city. Forking out more money for a new library that's not needed is okay but giving more money to keep our city safe well that's just crazy

Gedanken 6 years, 11 months ago

If it makes you feel better - the library project is for the most part - a waste of money as well. It could be done cheaper and in a more effective manner.

Scott Morgan 6 years, 11 months ago

I really love Lawrence and don't wish to be known as a basher. Lawrence has changed, but can correct course like so many other communities.

One big problem I see.

Could be wrong, but from reading and observation it seems Lawrence has attracted more "group" residents. One reads about a fight, break-in, assault it generally involves somebody with an out of city address. Or, my belief a short time Lawrence resident most likely one of many short stays. Week here, month there. Hard to make money and lots of spare time.

BTW.......I see more white out of work young people hanging than any minority.

Oversimplified example. Julie Goodintention moves to a Lawrence school or job. Julie rents small apt. or home. Lawrence of course is a fun place and Julie's buddies begin to hang. In past decades this was not a huge problem, but with the expense just to live, well some stay. Sometimes Julie doesn't even like the visitors, and after a while the group grows beyond her initial start up.

The gal who cuts my hair described the exact scenario to me last month. She had 5 or 6 adults who used her apt. at times. She hated it.

Some take advantage of the liberal social services. Some just wasting time and partying. Sell some grass, pick up some DVDs during a break in. Again, not unlike the past, except Lawrence and other high profile communities nowadays have folks who make it a semi-residence. Like the homeless, why not Lawrence, it's a friendly people pleasing place. Julie has unwittingly invited a group to live but not support Lawrence.

I firmly believe these type folks are more apt to do small time felonies. Much more so than the original communities they come from.

Cai 6 years, 11 months ago

...if they only surveyed 28 areas

"Crimes per 1,000 residents ... Lawrence: 47.4 (27th highest of 28)"

and we're 21 or lower in everything but fraud, how is "Lawrence crime rate higher than average in several categories"?

Andrew Applegarth 6 years, 11 months ago

It's because they are ordered opposite what you expect. In these ratings 1 means lowest crime rate and 28 means highest crime rate. Since the lowest ranking Lawrence got was 21, that means there were at least 20 communities with a lower crime rate than us in each category.

ezbreezy 6 years, 11 months ago

I was entering a bar the other night and gave my ID at Louises Downtown and the bouncer called the police on me because I had a small dent in the ID. I am 25. I understand underage drinking is a problem but just refuse to let me in, why use the obviously limited police resources? Pick and choose what is a real police emergency and whats not. BTW the police officer was pissed that he was called to verify my age! I was let in but will NEVER go there again!

gatekeeper 6 years, 11 months ago

the bars should all have one of the basic scanners that can read the magnetic strip and tell if it's real. Obviously Louises is cheap and refuses to do this and would rather spend our tax dollars to do it for them. Thanks for the info, will avoid there too.

pace 6 years, 11 months ago

I wish the police wanted to work closer with the community. If we had a citizen's review board, it would foster trust and communication between the citizens and the force. We need to strengthen the communication and even affection between the police and the community. Times are not going to get easier.

Joe Hyde 6 years, 11 months ago

Not being pessimistic here, but Lawrence has a number of disadvantages in terms of security. Lawrence sits a short distance away from, and right between, two major population centers, Topeka and the KC Metro Area. This makes Lawrence a convenient focus for visits by non-resident criminals.

Lawrence will soon offer three high-speed freeway entry/escape routes useful to criminals: the Kansas Turnpike, the K-10 freeway and US-59 freeway. Just by driving the speed limit on these routes, criminals can put 30 or more miles between themselves and a city where half an hour earlier they committed an offense.

Lawrence has a large population of university students (a vulernable victim category due to their youth and trusting nature). Plus the city has a high number of retail outlets with large parking lots, and many retail businesses such as gas stations/convenience stores and clubs and bars that stay open late (some are open 24/7).

Add the economic recession that is arguably hitting Topeka and Kansas City harder than it's hitting Lawrence, and you've got a prescription for a chronically higher crime rate in Lawrence (compared to similar-size cities).

Two suggestions: 1) Hire more officers, and; 2) Make it a department goal to aggressively go after traffic law violators.

The driving habits of people on Lawrence streets are generally deplorable. People roll stop signs, run red lights, speed, follow too closely, make illegal turns, etc. More officers ticketing more violators for misdemeanor traffic offenses will advertise the department's increased presence while increasing the department's computer data base that helps interpret the movement patterns of these violators. The assumption being: people who blow off traffic laws and ignore safety rules are predisposed to anti-social behavior.

Thinking_Out_Loud 6 years, 11 months ago

Topeka is a major population center? I know it's almost half again as large as Lawrence, but I don't think that qualifies it as major.

emu 6 years, 11 months ago

Lawrence is just down the road from the 666. Gangsta youths got cars.

Thinking_Out_Loud 6 years, 11 months ago

And that is a stereotype. Don't paint the entire population of Topeka with such a broad brush.

somedude20 6 years, 11 months ago

Lawrence needs Dirty Harry to come clean up the place. We already have Dirty Hippie "Now, I know what you're thinking. 'Did he fire six shots or only five?' To tell you the truth, I forgot myself in all this excitement. But being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you have to ask yourself a question: Do I feel lucky?...Well? Do ya, punk?")

anomicbomb 6 years, 11 months ago

I'm somewhat repeating what a few other people have said, but this isn't too hard to figure out:

1) A higher concentration of young people mean a higher concentration of particular types of crime, especially violent crime...

2) It is entirely possible that crime rates will be higher when you have a strong police force that is doing its job well. The crime rate of is actually the rate of crime reporting, not actual crime occurrence...if all you want is for your official crime rate to be low, tell the police to arrest less people and ignore a strong portion of crimes.

3) While the crime rate might work as a public justification of increasing the number of officers and amount of money spent on police, in my opinion having more cops is just as likely to raise the crime rate as lower it. Why? You will have more cops in more places to catch more people doing what they are already doing that would not have been caught (and hence not a statistic) otherwise. People really need to realize that crime statistics do not directly represent the actual amount of crime being committed.

Scott Morgan 6 years, 11 months ago

Much crime on campus is not reported to LPD. Hence the study would even be worse if those figures were included.

Speaking of the U, these figures can not be good news. Perspective parents do look at statistics as crime. I know I did.

Kris_H 6 years, 11 months ago

2)... That's what I suspect has happened in Topeka in recent years, but I can't verify it. Just those kind of rumor-ish things, you know.

I believe you are mostly correct in that more crimes will be caught with more police, but I wouldn't look at that as a bad thing. Maybe we should not pay as close attention to crime stats.

And speaking of those, I'd like to see a nationwide comparison of cities with as similar a demographic profile to Lawrence as possible, including the presence of a major university campus.

BigPrune 6 years, 11 months ago

Lawrence has a higher crime rate because......

Lawrence is an island of blue in a sea of red, an island of reality - surrounded by Kansas, an island of intelligence and culture, surrounded by a sea of stupidity.

When you come to Lawrence, "Toto, We're not in Kansas any more" Dorothy was addressing a dog, not exactly a sign of rationality.

In Lawrence, it's Halloween every day. We call it being Progressive. So yet again, our taxes should be raised. It's the "Progressive" thing to do. Reality stops at the city limits. Beyond, there be dragons, chimeras, whirlpools, right wing Christian fundamentalists, Flat Earth anti-Darwinians.....and lower crime rates.

dogsandcats 6 years, 11 months ago

How did they choose the cities for this survey? Seems like most of them have little in common with Lawrence. Boca Raton, FL?

bunnyhawk 6 years, 11 months ago

Officers per 1,000 residents Lowest: Fremont, Calif., 0.85 Naperville, Ill, 1.18 (4th lowest) Highest: Springfield, Mo., 2.06 Lawrence: 1.62 (23rd highest)

It would be great if the Journal World had reporters, or at least editors, who are sufficiently well educated to clearly describe the statistics presented in this article (It certainly makes one wonder about the rest of the 'news'!) For example, the officers per 1,000 residents statistic......... Out of a field of 28 cities.......would not the 4th lowest be almost the same as the 23rd highest? The 23rd highest would be the fifth from the bottom, no? the 23rd from the top? The confused ''informing' the confused!

Richard Payton 6 years, 11 months ago

The most powerful weapon is the truth. Sheriff Buford Pusser carries a large stick and isn't afraid to use it. The progressives scream but Pusser doesn't give a hoot.

pace 6 years, 11 months ago

The small theft crimes are higher than reported. They don't consider it a report unless they give a report number, Most are dealt with a conversation, there is not much they can (will) do and tell you to be more careful and vigilant. Unless you insist, there will be no report number assigned, so nor reported crime, so if the stuff shows up, it goes into auction. I think small theft is committed by a small number of criminal, very busy, if caught, there is little consequence. Then when they graduate to more violence and more crime, only then is it taken seriously. A lot of theft are small organized groups working an area, until it gets hot. In Lawrence it doesn't even get warm, since the LPD does not treat or report a rash of burglaries in an area as connected.

somedude20 6 years, 11 months ago

I'll tell you a crime Mr. Pete, ordering a pie from a local shop, lets say Rudy's (which is greeeeeaaatttt pizza) asking for half bacon/half chicken, wait about an hour looking forward to my tasty chicken and bacon pizza and when it comes it is half bacon half sausage. I was ready to kill, no one should mess with pizza Really Pizza Hut is a crime too as it PAPA Johns,Dominos,PaPa Murphys and Pizza Shuttle

abrownie 6 years, 11 months ago

If you combine some of the numbers given in the presentation the Police Department gave, you can see that Lawrence has the third highest calls for service (CFS) per population (1.32 per 1000 citizens). We are only exceeded by KCK (2.02 per 1000 citizens) and Columbia, Missouri (1.51 per 1000 citizens). This tells us we are either a bunch of prima donnas who expect others to address our every whim, or we just lack the capacity to manage our own lives and need the government to manage it for us most of the time, or some combination of the two.

If you look at the other numbers you can see KCK addresses there high rate of CFS by having 2.68 officers per 1000 citizens (compared to Lawrence's 1.56 and Columbia, MO's 1.55). Columbia, MO addresses this high rate of CFS by taking 1000 fewer reports per year (187 reports per 1000 citizens) despite a higher population and higher rate of CFS (Lawrence has a report rate of 220 reports per 1000 citizens while KCK has 350 reports per 1000 citizens).

It seems the Chief of Police is not saying we have to have additional officers, he is giving us a choice. We can either address the issue with the Kansas City approach, which is to have a higher ratio of officers, or decrease the expectation per each call for service, Columbia's solution.

Of course the solution offered here by many is if somebody else would just work harder, our lives would certainly be better which is a solution people are quick to point out. We would like to have champagne tastes on a beer budget.

One solution may be for us to tell Chief Khatib, we just don't think we can bear the tax burden of increasing the police force right now, but we do have a solution. We will learn to manage our own lives and deal with conflict without needing to call the police. We will learn to take our own personal safety and the protection of our property into our own hands, thereby reducing our need to call the Lawrence Police Department unless someone defeats our honest attempt at doing this. We will setup the old neighborhood watch systems and effectively combat crime without relying on professionals (aka paid people) to do this for us.

The other option is if we do not have the where with-all to do this, or just don't want to be burden with such tasks, we can pay the police department to do this for us. It seems the Chief of Police is giving us this option. Of course the option advocated by most here is lets have high expectations with low consideration.

Someone might check my math, I did it kinda quick, but that's the way I see it.

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