Wichita police chief talks homicide spike, overtime and public help

Crime

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – “It’s not like the one-hour TV show where they solve a homicide in an hour and the person is going to jail as you turn off the TV show,” said Wichita Police Department Chief Gordon Ramsay on Wednesday.

Many WPD officers are working overtime to solve recent homicides.

Ramsay filled the media in on his concerns about a recent spike in homicides and the move to solve them. There have been 11 homicides in Wichita since the beginning of November.

“Yes, it’s concerning,” said Ramsay. “It takes a significant amount of resources but our clearance rate is among the best in the nation.”

In the previous 11 homicides, WPD has made 10 arrests, but Chief Ramsay says the spike in numbers is disturbing for a number of reasons.

“Many of these people have previous criminal histories. Some of them extensive. So they are not (those) who are first-time offenders or who we don’t know,” said Ramsay.

At times, WPD homicide detectives are working 16-plus hours a day. They shuffle staff and bring in members of the gang task force to help identify suspects. That is part of the protocol.

But only a few of the recent homicides have ties to gangs. This year, there have been 41 homicides. Last year, there were 48. Of the homicides this year, 18 have been domestic disturbance related. Two are gang-related. Seven involved drugs. Three were robbery related.

They are all over the map. Chief Ramsay did say crime rates have dropped somewhat at North Patrol and West Patrol areas. But crimes have been on the rise in both south and east Wichita.

Criminal homicides are down 9% from last year. Total robbery numbers are down over the last five years. Burglaries are down by a large number of 19%.

“A lot of times, it’s just good police work,” said Ramsay of the numbers.

Sometimes the public helps, but Ramsay says other times there could be more information coming into police investigations.

“It’s not uncommon to have people that are not cooperative with homicides for many reasons,” said Ramsay. “Fear. They want to do vigilante revenge. It takes us more time in those cases.”

While the Chief remains concerned about the latest spike in homicides, he also remains optimistic.

“We have a high rate on clearing homicides,” said Ramsay. “But in other areas, we are making definite strides in the numbers.”

Ramsay reminds the public that video surveillance is always helpful in solving crimes. He also encourages people to keep calling Crime Stoppers.

“You know, any homicide is too many,” said Ramsay.

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