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Investigators: Violent crime rate going up in Kansas

August 20, 2018

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Violent crime rates in Kansas continue to trend upward as last year’s murder rate was more than 40 percent higher than the 10-year average, according to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

The bureau released its annual report Friday, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported .

Local and state agencies reported 176 murders to the bureau in 2017, a nearly 19 percent increase from 2016, according to the report. The murder rate increased more than 12 percent from 2015 to 2016.

The number of cases involving multiple victims also increased last year.

Topeka recorded 30 homicides in 2017, its highest number of homicides on record.

Identifying reasons can be difficult because circumstances surrounding the death are unknown in about 1 in 5 cases, said KBI Director Kirk Thompson.

“We believe drug abuse and drug violence has an impact. In the last year, many of the murder and attempted murder cases the KBI investigated were directly related to drug activity,” Thompson said. “We also suspect that gang violence and social issues such as poverty play a role in the increase in crime we’re experiencing.”

Authorities found that 22 percent of murders were a result of domestic violence and 21 percent stemmed from arguments. Gang activity was a factor in 11 percent of murder cases and drug trafficking was a factor in 10 percent.

Bureau officials said they have seen an increase in requests for assistance from local law enforcement on violent crime cases.

Other violent crimes such as robbery and rape have also trended upward. Topeka police reported 272 robberies and 62 rapes last year, while the Shawnee County Sheriff’s Office investigated nine robberies and two rapes. More than 1,200 rapes were reported in Kansas, a nearly 8 percent increase from 2016.

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Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, http://www.cjonline.com

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