Annual report: Violent crime and property crime dropped in Lawrence and Douglas County in 2019

photo by: Journal-World File Photo

The Douglas County Judicial and Law Enforcement Center is pictured in this file photo from Aug. 4, 2020.

The latest edition of an annual report shows that, overall, violent and property crime were down for Lawrence and Douglas County in 2019.

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation’s 2019 Crime Index, released Friday, quantifies the number of “index crimes” that occurred statewide and by jurisdiction.

In the category of index crimes, the FBI includes violent crimes of murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault/battery, and property crimes of burglary, theft and motor vehicle theft.

The only index crime to increase locally was rape; however, 2018 — the year prior to the report — saw a number of rape reports that was lower than the five-year average.

Local stats

The Douglas County section of the KBI’s report includes statistics from the Lawrence, Baldwin City and Eudora police departments and the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office. The county’s total violent and property index crimes decreased by 10.5% from 2018 to 2019, according to the report.

The rate of violent crimes per 1,000 people dropped from 3.3 to 3.1 from 2018 to 2019 in Douglas County. The rate of 3.1 is equivalent to the county’s five-year average.

The rate of property crimes per 1,000 people dropped from 27.8 to 24.1, the latest report shows. The 2019 rate is about 5.7 per 1,000 population below the county’s five-year average of 29.78.

Overall, the countywide rate of index crimes dropped from 31.1 to 27.2 per 1,000 people, the report shows.

Rape reports — which the KBI quantifies by number of victims — increased from 61 to 78 from 2018 to 2019 countywide. However, the five-year average for 2015 through 2019 was 72.2, and the 2018 total of 61 had been a drop from 77 in 2017, previous years’ data shows.

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The Lawrence Police Department’s total violent and property index crimes also decreased by about 10.5% from 2018 to 2019, according to the report.

LPD reports of rape increased by eight, from 58 in 2018 to 66 in 2019. That’s an increase of about 13.8%, but it’s about 5.3% higher than the five-year average of 62.67.

LPD also reported 14 fewer aggravated assaults and batteries in 2019 than 2018. Robbery reports dropped from 62 to 38, a decrease of nearly 39%.

LPD also reported nearly 200 fewer thefts than the year prior — 2,409 in 2018, and 2,218 in 2019 — and nearly 100 fewer burglary incidents, from 437 in 2018 to 339 in 2019. Burglary reports decreased by about 22%.

Statewide

Overall statewide, total reported index crimes are 5.5% below the 10-year average, the report shows.

The report shows that all individual violent index crimes dropped statewide from 2018 to 2019, except for assaults and batteries. They increased by about 6%, which drove the statewide violent crime rate up — about 17% above the 10-year average, according to a news release accompanying the report.

“Yet, fortunately, the state saw a decline in the number of murders, rapes, and robberies,” according to the news release. “Across Kansas 130 murders, 1,297 rapes, and 1,422 robberies were reported.”

Total property crime offenses also dropped statewide by nearly 7%, and 2019 saw a 16-year low, according to the report.

“Even motor vehicle theft, which has been on the rise for several years, declined statewide in 2019,” the news release noted. The total dropped from 8,351 to 8,047.

Statewide reports of rape also declined, by 3.6%, for the first time since 2016; however, the numbers are still about 14% above the 10-year average, according to the KBI’s report.

Contact Mackenzie Clark

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Related coverage

July 28, 2019: Douglas County property crimes drop, but violent crime barely budges, KBI report shows

Aug. 20, 2018: Douglas County violent crime up in all categories in 2017; murders quadrupled

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