Douglas County violent crime up in all categories in 2017; murders quadrupled

photo by: Journal-World File Photo

A Lawrence police car sits outside a crime scene in this file photo from 2009.

Murders more than quadrupled last year in Douglas County, according to newly released crime statistics.

Douglas County counted nine murders in 2017, compared with two in 2016, according to statistics released Friday by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

Three other categories of crimes considered violent by the KBI went up as well. According to KBI statistics for 2017:

• Robberies went up 33 percent, climbing to 77 from 58 in 2016.

• Rapes went up by about 8 percent, increasing to 77 from 71 in 2016.

• Aggravated assault and battery went up by about 3 percent, increasing to 247 from 239 in 2016. This is the category that, under Kansas law, would include most shootings, though the KBI statistics do not break up the numbers into more detailed categories.

Statewide, Kansas is seeing similar trends.

“The murder rate is the highest in the past 10 years,” the KBI said in a news release accompanying county-by-county data.

According to the KBI, Kansas saw 176 murders in 2017, an 18.9 percent increase from 2016.

Overall, violent crime in Kansas continues to trend upward, the release said.

The year 2017 saw an overall increase of 6.3 percent in violent crime, according to the release. In the past three years, Kansas experienced a 23.1 percent increase in violent crime.

Regarding Douglas County’s 2017 murder and aggravated battery cases, some involved multiple people injured and even multiple lives lost in a single incident.

One of those was the fatal shooting of three people on Massachusetts Street in the early morning hours of Oct. 1, 2017. Two other people were shot but survived.

Douglas County violent crime

The following represent totals for violent crimes reported to law enforcement agencies in Douglas County in the following years. They include the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and the Lawrence, Baldwin City and Eudora police departments. University of Kansas police are totaled separately, but tallied no murders and no more than four reports in any of the other violent categories.


Murder — 9

Rape — 77

Robbery — 77

Aggravated assault/battery — 247

Violent crime rate per 1,000 people — 3.4


Murder — 2

Rape — 71

Robbery — 58

Aggravated assault/battery — 239

Violent crime rate per 1,000 people — 3.3

(Note: Eudora police did not submit 2016 data to the KBI)

— Source: Kansas Bureau of Investigation Crime Index Reports

Contact Journal-World public safety reporter Sara Shepherd


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