Kan. police see sharp rise in drive-by shootings; chief points to lack of youth activities

The shooting rate in Wichita has increased by 82% despite stay-at-home orders amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Jason Tidd
The Wichita Eagle

WICHITA, Kan. — The number of drive-by shootings in Wichita has increased 82%, and Police Chief Gordon Ramsay points to a lack of activities for youth and young adults as part of the reason.

Ramsay spoke in a Facebook video Tuesday evening, addressing crime rates and other effects the coronavirus pandemic has had on the Wichita Police Department.

“Now one of the concerns that we’re seeing is the number of drive-by shootings,” Ramsay said. “They’re up about 82% over the 5-year average.”

The video then displayed year-to-date crime statistics. There were 36 drive-by shootings between Jan. 1 and May 3, compared with the five-year average of 19.8.

Compared with the 18 drive-by shootings at this time last year, there has been a 100% increase.

There have been 13 drive-by shootings in the past 28 days. That same time span averaged 4.8 shootings over the past five years. The result is a 171% increase. It also means Wichita is averaging about two drive-by shootings every week.



Posted by Wichita Police Department on Tuesday, May 5, 2020

“That is a serious concern for us,” Ramsay said. “Many of them are being committed by young people. And when you look at what’s happening in our communities, you know, there is the Ys are closed, Boys & Girls (Clubs) is closed. There’s no activities for youth and young adults, as well as employment.

“(A) lot of restaurants and other places are closed, so a lot of our youth and young adults are out of work. They don’t have anything to do and what we’re seeing is an increase in the shootings, we’re seeing an increase in vandalisms, tagging, serious domestic assaults. So in that sense, it will be nice to get some normalcy back over the next few weeks and the next month so that the youth have something to do, something structured to do.”

The report also notes that there have been 18 homicides so far this year, which is a 58% increase over the five-year average of 11.4. It is an 80% increase over the 10 homicides at this time last year. There has been a 13% increase in rapes — and a 52% increase in forcible domestic violence rapes — over the five-year average.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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