Per Capita Crime Rate vs. Actual Crime Reported
Had a great question - I was asked how can our per capita crime rate equal that of large cities? Doesn't that mean we're a violent town?
First - Parsons #1 violent crime is aggravated assault usually involving domestic violence. The #1 property crime is theft, in part because we're the retail trade center for a 40-mile radius - folks come to Parsons to purchases things. Think of Walmart.
Second - Crime data comes in 2 packages. One is the rate of crime per capita, so as a population declines which Parsons has lost about 1,000 residents over the past half decade, the per capita rate of crime can stagnate or increase even if there is a decline in actual numbers of crime.
Then there is actual reported crime. In that case for 2020 (the most recent year of published data), The FBI crime rate (UCR - Uniform Crime Report), is only a snapshot of a handful of crimes used to benchmark crime activity across the state and nation. It does not include the total number of all calls for service or reported crime.
The FBI defines violent crime as murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault, which Parsons had 93 violent crimes. Property crimes tracked by the FBI include burglary, theft, auto theft and arson, which totaled 406 property crimes (for 2020).
For actual reported crime that ranks Parsons 26th in the state. Coffeyville had 492 incidents while Independence had 547, Emporia had 545, Chanute failed to report and data, and Pittsburg had 1,248 reportable crimes. In the SE region of Kansas for comparable cities Parsons scores well. Higher than we'd like, but nowhere near the likes of Wichita (24,924 UCR crimes), Kansas City (9,362), Topeka (6,862), Overland Park (4,422), Lawrence (2,995), etc.
You can download a copy of our Annual Report and our Crime Clock flyer from our web site: www.parsonspd.com where you can also sign up to receive text or email alerts. The reports can be directly viewed/downloaded at: https://www.parsonspd.com/plugins/show_image.php?id=523
Crime Prevention starts with you and ends with the police. The Parsons Police Department urges the citizens of Parsons to "See It, Hear It, Report It" at all times. Using every resource available to stop crime before it happens or while in progress requires more than just the police staff it needs all of the eyes in the community for it to be successful.
Don't be an easy target for a thief. Make it difficult: DO THE 9PM ROUTINE.
At 9PM each evening, conduct a quick security check to verify that:
1. Vehicles, garages and sheds are locked.
2. Valuables are secured and brought inside.
3. Activate exterior lights, security cameras and alarms.
Almost all prevention methods focus on not making yourself vulnerable to criminals looking for a crime of opportunity. Use these tips for having a safer residence:
Lock your doors
Install security / motion lighting
Keep valuables out of vehicles
Throw boxes away from new purchases day of trash pickup such as televisions and computers
Keep records of serial numbers for valuable equipment
Install security cameras and alarms
Know your neighbors and watch each other's property
Report any suspicious activity in your neighborhood
The investigation into a series of attacks against dogs all centered in the SE corner of Parsons continues. Police are sifting through tips submitted by citizens. The reward has now been increased to $34,000 with a separate $5,000 reward being offered by PETA.
The updated Reward poster provides additional details on the cases along with a map showing the area where the attacks have been centered.
Based on multiple factors, it is possible that one individual who harbors an abnormal psychopathy that can use animal cruelty as a gateway to more violent behavior, according to 'Animal Cruelty as a Gateway Crime' published by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Residents in the southeast area of Parsons are encouraged not to let their dogs roam at large. When animals are left even in a fenced yard they should be watched. Installing Ring, Blink or other home CCTV devices are encouraged as a general crime prevention measure.
"Any suspicious individuals lurking in vehicles or on foot should be reported to the police department," says Acting Commander Kyle Wiford.
This continues to be an on-going investigation and citizens are encouraged to "See It, Hear It, Report It." If anyone has any further information on this incident or any other criminal activity, please contact the Parsons Police Department at 421-7060 or call the Tip Line at 421-7057 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is a New Year! A great time to review the past, plan for the future and look at the facts of today.
Last year Parsons Police struggled with staffing just as our other police agencies in the region did. Actually, across the state and nation police recruiting and retention is a shared challenge. Better private sector wages and benefits, increased competition among police agencies and COVID all combined to stress the policing profession. Parsons PD has long struggled with employee turnover; over the past 25 years the average rate of turnover has been 20%. The Parsons Fire Department has been about the same rate. Lower total compensation has long made Parsons a training ground instead being a career employer. We made great recent strides forward to make our entry level salaries on par for our region.
Parsons continues to be an award-winning agency! A national award for Excellence in Collaboration set the agency above its peers. A state level award from the American Automobile Association (AAA) for traffic safety put the department in the top 1% of agencies in Kansas. A Gold Award from Lexipol for policing policies and risk management put Parsons PD in the top 10 percent of over 4,000 police agencies in the nation.
These achievements all happened during a pandemic, staff shortages, and increased workloads with each member of the police department being expected to do more every day. That is an achievement in and by itself - one I want to recognize the efforts of your Parsons Police Officers and Staff!
We will continue to partner with our law enforcement partners to include the Labette Sheriff's Office, Labette County Attorney as well as the Independence and Coffeyville Police Departments and others. We continue to build great relations resulting in arrests by working cooperatively on our local cases that can stretch across jurisdictions with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI), Kansas Highway Patrol (KHP), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI, the US Marshal's Fugitive Task Force, and others. These partnerships enhance our overall effectiveness extending local resources much farther.