Frustrated by the increasing rate of violent crimes in Wichita, Police Chief Gordon Ramsay invited community leaders to make an appeal to the public.  Their request was for all members of the community to be a part of the solution. 

While incidents of aggravated assault of domestic violence are up a small amount, the rates of fire arms discharged and shooting victims are up 25% over the same time last year.  These growing rates are because more people see a fire arm as a way to resolve an issue. 

“We’re seeing incidents where people are pulling out guns as a way to resolve conflict where it doesn’t need to be,” said Ramsay. 

Deputy Chief Wanda Givens noted an increase in road rage incidents involving guns. 

“Where we used to flip someone off, or cuss them out, people are getting out of their cars with guns,” said Givens. 

Kansas’ open carry law makes it legal for individuals to carry a gun in their car as long as it’s openly visible, like on the seat beside them.  That increased visibility means easier access to their fire arm when even the slightest thing “jumps off.” 

So far this year, there have been 220 incidents of people displaying a gun, up 9% from the last year. 

While displaying a gun is a mild manner of intimidation, there have been 161 incidents this year of people actually discharging their fire arm.   These incidents don’t necessarily mean an individual was shooting at a person, but they could possibly be shooting into the air as a way to disarm a situation. 

While these numbers — often associated with everyday citizens — are up, drive-by shootings — typically associated with gangs — are down 4% year-to-date. 

In another fire arm related statistic, the number of shooting victims was up from 99 last year to 124 this year, for a 25% increase. 

“We’re asking the entire community to just think before you act,” said Rev. Roosevelt DeShazar, past-president of the Wichita Ministerial League.  “Don’t let a gun be your first choice to resolve an issue.”

In a call for the community’s help, Angel Martinez of Second Chance Bail Bond said, “If you think it’s WPD’s job to fix things that we’re seeing and you’re not saying anything, you’re part of the problem.  It starts at home.  Parents, be there for your kids, get active, get them involved in something.” 

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