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Are you concerned about the recent wave of violence in Lawrence?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on March 31, 2009

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Photo of Luke Towns

“I’m not overly concerned because it’s still a small town.”

Photo of Macy McMahan

“Hell yeah, it’s scary … I can’t go out at night.”

Photo of Kyle Gerstner

“I’m very concerned, but I’m not sure what we’re doing about it. Hopefully we are doing something.”

Photo of Brittanie Williams

“It’s a little bit of a concern … especially since the last incident wasn’t too far away from us.”

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Maddy Griffin 9 years, 1 month ago

I am very concerned! I moved my family out of Topeka over 20 years ago when it started looking like the crackheads were taking over. All the commissioners cared about was their precious Westridge Mall. Topeka has paid a high price for that (have you seen downtown Topeka lately). I hope Lawrence can get a handle on this soon. I really don't want to move from here.

geekin_topekan 9 years, 1 month ago

Not in the least.I refuse to succumb to unfounded fear.

None of these recent events involved a person who was not directly engaged with the assailant in some way.None were random acts of senseless violence.

While MAcy sets at home surrendering to terror,I will be enjoying life while using my head,staying away from known trouble spots and people.

Mary Darst 9 years, 1 month ago

TOB Are ya starting to get you boxes filled and stored?

dajudge 9 years, 1 month ago

I think we should all start going to Club Axis and try to change the clientele. Then, we could all hang out over by 14th and Ohio, just in case somebody pulls a gun. And go to Burger King to help stop the knifings.

Flap Doodle 9 years, 1 month ago

TOB, be sure to include some chert and obsidian so you can make arrowheads after technology collapses.

Chris Ogle 9 years, 1 month ago

Not me, but I don't go out after dark.. just in case.

Ceallach 9 years, 1 month ago

Not at all. Just knowing there may be a gun or knife fight at Burger King (one block away from my home) adds drama to my otherwise quiet life. Besides, I'm sure the youngsters come from dysfunctional or broken homes so they are not directly responsible for their actions. I keep extra cookies in case they inadvertently wander into my house while running away from danger. Just knowing I really care about them as individuals may bring them to understand that getting drunk/drugged and shooting/knifing others is not an acceptable way to vent their frustration at a world that does not make them feel welcome.

beawolf 9 years, 1 month ago

I think we need an armed vigilante posse to patrol the streets. Let's march through town with torches and pitchforks and round up anyone who looks suspicious.

jonas_opines 9 years, 1 month ago

"Sorry, you had to so viciously attack me."

Your view of vicious attacks is as questionable as your view on everything else, right-thinker. Maybe the next time instead of mentioning you specifically we'll just find a whole demographic that you belong to and claim unfounded paranoia is simply a common trait of everybody like you. That seems more your speed.

Kat Christian 9 years, 1 month ago

No surprise to me and it will only get worse. Why? I predicted this when I heard they had passed the "concealed gun law". I mean it's obvious now that the bad human elements can now carry a gun without anyone knowing it then when they get that urge they pull it out at a moments whim and shot without any fore thought (becuase we already know they have no brains). What else can we expect? With the way our society is evolving there's more bad then good people. I'm not totally against gun laws but concealed gun law I am. Since that law has been passed there have been more shootings in KC and now it is moving into Lawrence. So what is the city going to do about it?

Bob031800 9 years, 1 month ago

I think we need to do what Topeka started eight years ago, they started several neighborhood associations and the police began to really crack down. The city still has issues, but at least it is trending in the right direction. Lawrence needs to wake up and take this seriously. Here is some info I found about T-Town progress.

"Although Topeka experienced problems with crime in the 1990s, the city's crime rates have improved in the past decade. The city is now breaking trends when it comes to violent crime, so much so that it has gained the interest of researchers from Michigan State University. Since 2000, most cities with a population greater than 100,000 have seen an increase in violent crimes. Topeka's crime is decreasing. Researchers credit good communication between law enforcement agencies, informed media outlets, and strong community involvement for Topeka's success. Topeka was one of four cities, along with Chicago, Tampa, and El Monte, California to be studied.

Overall, crime in Topeka was down nearly 18 percent in the first half of 2008, compared with the same period of 2007. Crime was down 9.8 percent in 2007, as compared to 2006.

The Topeka Capital Journal reported in January 2009 that "An overall drop in crime last year and a new district attorney could add up to trouble for Topeka's criminals in 2009. Topeka police reported a 6.4 percent drop in crime from 2007 to 2008, including significant reductions in business robberies and aggravated assaults and batteries, as well as thefts."

Bob031800 9 years, 1 month ago

Criminals, like water, will flow to the place of least resistance. =)

HermioneElliott 9 years, 1 month ago

I am not worried and I don't care. All of this is a tempest in a teapot.

geniusmannumber1 9 years, 1 month ago

It must be exhausting to live in irrational fear.

Sheila Hooper White 9 years, 1 month ago

Wow seriously!! I have lived here all my life and i am not going to let some punks scare me. If it's your turn to go, it's your turn. Why add one more silly thing to worry about? Come on people this is Lawrence. I'm not saying things don't happen, they do. But you can't waste your life being worried about it. It's very sad that others find it necessary to do things like this and and bring such fear to some but we can't give into the fear and let those individuals run our lives. Enjoy Lawrence it's a wonderful place to live and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else:)

woodenfleaeater 9 years, 1 month ago

TOB: My grandpa was a bootlegger, and he had his moonshine recipe that he gave my father. My father said he will not give it to me until after he passes. My father makes it, and gives it as gifts. It is very lethal, but good as a sipper w/ ice.

Just remember, wheat to drink it, corn to sell it!!! And if you soak a piece of red oak in it, gives it the bourbony look and bit of a taste.

Larry_No_Longer 9 years, 1 month ago

For everyone hollering about how government has no place in business, you can't have it both ways. Would our country be that much better with no minimum wage, no child labor laws, and full of sweat shops?

denak 9 years, 1 month ago

I'm not sure a few "high profile" crimes (thanks media) should be classified as a "recent wave of violence."

Is this any different than at any other time? It is getting warmer so we are going to have more crime. More people are out and about. It is to be expected.

I have lived in Lawrence since 1994. I have always felt safe.

Most crimes are crimes of opportunity.Most of the "victims" in this "recent wave of violence" knew the other person which proves the old adage, "if you lie down with dogs, you wake up with fleas."


Chris Ogle 9 years, 1 month ago

Dancemom- after reading your post, I suddenly have a new outlook on life....I am going out tonight, they can't scare me!!!.... Hmmm, now if I could just decide whether I should use worms, or Shad when I go fishin tonight.

1029 9 years, 1 month ago

Terrified...and my trigger finger is really itchy.

Was walking down the street and got spooked by a rabbit the other night. I didn't know it was a rabbit at the time, so I fired off eleven rounds into the darkness. Realized it was a rabbit only after I found it's furry carcass under some bushes. No big deal, right? But then some jerk comes out of his house and starts b%#@ing about a couple of his living room windows getting shot out. I don't know what's lurking in the bushes. This town is dangerous. There's crime everywhere. Dang right I'm going to use my 2nd amendment right to defend myself.

RoeDapple 9 years, 1 month ago

Crime wave now, Obami Tsunami this summer.

Be afraid, be very afraid............


RoeDapple 9 years, 1 month ago

prospector, where do you normally keep your "head"?

I'd lose mine if it wasn't attached...........


Rainfalls 9 years, 1 month ago

Let me ask a question, and I hope I get a honest answer: Is this club mostly black or white people?

gphawk89 9 years, 1 month ago


I notice this is your first post. I'll beat everyone else to the punch here: (sung tauntingly): Rainfalls is a racist! Rainfalls is a racist! Nanny, nanny, boo, boo!

Now that you know how most posters are going to react on this board when you mention race... I have no answer to your question. Never been there, never intend to. I'm out of the club/bar scene.

This wave of violence... How many people have been murdered in Lawrence this violence wave? I keep seeing posters making comments about Lawrence no longer being a "town" but a "big city" now. The crime in Lawrence is nothing like in a real "big city" where you might see a murder every other day.

Sheila Hooper White 9 years, 1 month ago

I'll have to agree with autie, xbus! Even though I hate the smell and would rather use worms sometimes the smelly works better. I think I'll wait til it warms up a bit more.

I'm just saying I think everyone is freaking out about nothing. You can't live your life board up in your house b/c of some idiot kids. And that's pretty much what this is. If you look at the booking recap or who is in the Douglas County Jail most of them are kids. Okay i may only be in my late 30's but alot them were born in the 80's. So sad...and I thought the 80"s were a good time!! haha. Anyway make fun, it doesn't bother me, everyone needs a good laugh. That is whats wrong with people serious!

RoeDapple 9 years, 1 month ago

Agreed dancemom, I really don't see too much happening now that didn't happen to some extent back 40 years ago. Except the reporting of it. Saw some bloody fights at the "Bird", Stables, Yuk Down, out on the sand bar west of Lawrence. Involved in very few myself, but have been shot at,(missed fortunately), threatened with a straight razor, (small scar on belly, took it away and convinced previous owner he didn't need it. He wasn't quite as tough without it) I didn't run with a rough crowd, but somebody always wanted a chunk of the big guy. Big difference, back then things happened, then it was over. Nobody called the police, at least not often. Now, with instant communication, the police are notified as it happens. That, and there is a "get even" escalation of violence now that wasn't so prevalent back then. I do think LPD does a good job but their job is usually after the fact as opposed to prevention. My opinion, their hands are tied by a court system with a minimalist approach to punishment. When violent, weapon toting law breakers are punished to "The Fullest Extent of the Law" we might see a decline in these kind of events. Otherwise it will continue to get worse.

Sheila Hooper White 9 years, 1 month ago

Amen, roe!! That is what these kids today see. Oh I can go pull a gun on someone, threaten them and I get slapped on the wrist. It's so sad. Most of these "punks" are tough enough without their guns. When I was in school (graduated about 20 years ago) it was fist, yes maybe a few bats or pipes, but now it's guns. How cowardly can you get. The really sad part is the innocent people who get hurt or killed by the actions of someone else. Just because someone called you a name or your friend a name, they cut you off in traffic, take your parking spot....I think you get the pic..that doesn't mean you have the right to take their life. I'm not against people who legally have guns it all the ones out there that are illegal. I'm not sure about a solution but I'm sure there is something that can be done. Be nice to people is a start. I remember when your neighbors would wave or people would just say "hi" in passing. Why can't we all just get along!! haha!

Pay attention to your children, talk to them and let them know the correct way to act and treat others. Let them know you love them and that it's okay to have feelings and opinions and just b/c you don't agree with someone doesn't make them a bad person. We all just need to love one another like the Bible tells us. Okay enough of my ranting just smile at someone and see if they smile back or say "hi" it makes you feel good and them too:)

cthulhu_4_president 9 years, 1 month ago

"Are you concerned about the recent wave of violence in Lawrence?"

No. I'm more concerned with irresponsible journalism which spins the circumstances about a few isolated incidents (none of which were random acts) to make it sound like a wave of random violence is burning our town down.

RoeDapple 9 years, 1 month ago

spacehog, A neighbor was confronted by his wife's ex. The ex said, "Don't mess with me, I know karate!" The neighbor says," Oh yeah? Well let me introduce you to 357!"

Never a good idea to go to another man's house to make threats................

jehovah_bob 9 years, 1 month ago

It's all part of KU's Master Plan. . .


RoeDapple 9 years, 1 month ago

R_I but sticks and stones can break your bones....

feeble 9 years, 1 month ago

Crime wave? How many folks died to violence in Lawrence so far, this year? KC is on homicide victim #27. Lawrence is Candyland by comparison.

Bob031800 9 years, 1 month ago

Interesting article released by Danth Inc a year ago. It shows that no matter how you slice it crime is going up in Lawrence. The number of assaults happening downtown is up 444% from 2001. What I worry about is people just keeping their heads in the sand and saying there is no crime problem when there is. On the other hand, overall the community is still as safe as other cities our size and the chance of you becoming a victim is still very low unless you are out late at night and engaged in the bar scene. Here is the source article I found...

Danth Inc. released in March 2008 that since 2001 violent crime had risen in downtown Lawrence. In 2001 only 45 assaults were reported in downtown Lawrence, by 2006 that number had grown to 245, which in itself was an increase of 100 from the year before. N. David Milder writes in this report that "Except for Lawrence, KS, a medium sized college town in the heart of the midwest, all other downtowns report declining crime rates."

John Hamm 9 years, 1 month ago

Well you might as well get used to it - it's gonna get worse.

Christine Anderson 9 years, 1 month ago

Olaf, I've got a feeling I'm not in my small, rural Wi farming community anymore....

lwctown 9 years, 1 month ago

Lawrence needs to shutdown the borders into town..then issue visas to known noncriminals so they can easily come into town. Anyone else is then subject to search and seizure if found to be breaking the law when entering or while in the city. Lawrence residents should be able to show their Peoples Republic of Lawrence Citizens Membership Card to easily pass in and out of the town.

HermioneElliott 9 years, 1 month ago

Posters only get hysterical when the crime involves a black man. Not much said about the white guy who mugged people at 11th and Vermont. Hey, cut him some slack, he's white, he don't know no better.' Racism should always be talked about openly and honestly. What we have here is a failure to communicate.

feeble 9 years, 1 month ago

I went looking for the Danth, Inc study Bob031800 cited and found it here:

After going to KIBRS, since it is publicly available, I think the Danth numbers are a bit misleading, but that's probably because the full KIBRS reports provide a much more robust dataset. The Danth report also counts all assaults and does not distinguish between simple and aggravated assault.

The following is straight taken from KIBRS:

KIBRS data on Aggravated / Simple Assault & Battery

City wide: 2001 - 155 / 703 2002 - 282 / 999 2003 - 314 / 997 2004 - 290 / 1147 2005 - 317 / 1307 2006 - 407 / 1885 2007 - 362 / 1950 2008 - 356 / 1907 ================== 41a - South Park to 6th street, follows Mass. Totals in parens:

1999 - 12 / 61 (73) 2000 - 24 / 58 (82) 2001 - 9 / 32 (41) 2002 - 16 / 68 (84) 2003 - 58 / 108 (166) 2004 - 26 / 96 (122) 2005 - 31 / 120 (151) 2006 - 46 / 199 (145) 2007 - 16 / 101 (117) 2008 - 26 / 212 (238)

So, there is an overall uptick in reports from downtown, but it isn't a linear increase. Further 2001 seems to be an outliner, based on the previous two years. There's was a sharp increase in aggravated assault and battery in 2003, but overall, it is fairly flat. So why the increase in simple assault/battery?

RoeDapple 9 years, 1 month ago

Racism of any kind is wrong. Period. Including your reverse racism Hermi. Do you ever even read what you write? Blanket generalizations of hysterical posters? My grandparents open racism in the 50;s was an embarrassment to me as a small child. You sound much like them on the other side of the imaginary fences both sides of the issue build to keep each other "in their place". Try switching a few key words in your ignorant post, then see how it sounds.

Off your meds? Now would be a good time to restart......

igby 9 years, 1 month ago

Don't worry be happy!

After the students are gone this summer, half the businesses will be closing up and bankrupt.

This will be the deadest summer for Lawrence, with the mega-depression looming.

Looming in Lawrence!

That's kind of like:

Go ahead, tax the Looming s**t out of us!

Bloody f**K'in liberals!

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