HUTCHINSON, Kan. (KSNW) – New stats from the Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI) show violent crimes are up in the Sunflower State. The KBI says Kansas had 193 murders in 2020. That is more than any year since 1959 when the FBI first began publishing national crime statistics.
“When I first got here, we had the fifth-highest crime rate of all cities of the first class in the state of Kansas,” said Hutchinson Police Chief Jeff Hooper.
Chief Hooper says crime in Hutchinson has decreased by more than 50%. He attributes the decline to a new crime reduction strategy implemented in 2018.
“I mean we are here to make our community a better and safer place to live,” said Hooper.
According to the KBI, data shows in 2019 Hutch reported one murder, 23 rapes and 115
aggravated assaults. But in 2020, the KBI reports no murders, 10 rapes and 67 aggravated assaults.
Hooper says his officers are helping reduce crime by forming relationships with the people they serve.
The department has also put additional resources into neighborhoods with higher crime rates.
“Every officer then is responsible for their own specific community initiative that also helps drive that crime down,” said Hooper.
Long-time Hutchinson resident Cynthia Flores says living in the area she has seen her fair share of crime. But since Hooper stepped in as chief, she has seen a significant decrease.
“I mean they are making Hutch a better place to live, you know, we as community members, I mean, it feels great to live in a safer community,” said Flores.
The chief says they evaluate their strategy each month and update it according to current crime trends.
The ultimate goal is to increase the quality of life for the people in Hutchinson.