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Crime Data - What's It Mean?

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