KBI: Kansas violent crime down, property crime up in 2023

TOPEKA – Violent crime was down in Kansas in 2023 according to a newly compiled statewide report from the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, but property crimes were up and murders were down from 2022 but still ahead of the 10-year pre-Covid average.

The KBI released the 2023 Kansas Crime Index Report, which compiles crime statistics reported to the agency by state and local law enforcement offices throughout Kansas.

Violent crime analysis

The 2023 Kansas Crime Index Report indicated that violent crime in Kansas decreased by 3.7% from 2022, showing declines in each category of violent crime. A total of 13,294 violent crimes were reported in Kansas for the offenses of murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault and battery. Despite this decline, violent crime in the state remained 8.6% above the 10-year average.

Property crime analysis

In 2023, overall property crimes increased by 2.6%. In Kansas, property offenses have steadily declined in recent years, making 2023 the first year since 2017 that the state experienced an uptick in property crime reports. Property crime offenses are assumed to be underreported to law enforcement.

Find the full 2023 Kansas Crime Index report, and previous year’s statistics at: https://www.kansas.gov/kbi/stats/stats_crime.shtml.

Total Index Crimes: The Federal Bureau of Investigation defines index crimes as murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault/battery, motor vehicle theft, and arson. In 2023, there were 66,782
property crimes and 13,294 violent crimes submitted by Kansas law enforcement agencies to the KBI. Total index crimes decreased 7.4% from the 10‐year average but increased 1.5% from 2022 to 2023. The total index crimes were heavily impacted by the total property index crimes due to the number of property crimes reported compared to violent crimes.
Crime Index Rate: The crime index rate is the number of all index crimes per 1,000 people. This increased from 26.7 offenses per 1,000 people in 2022, to 27.0 in 2023.
Violent Crime Index Rate: The violent crime index rate was 9.8% above the 10‐year average, but decreased 4.3% from 2022. In 2023, the violent crime index rate for Kansas was 4.5 offenses per 1,000 people. These include: murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault/battery.
Property Crime Index: The property crime index rate was 10.0% below the 10‐year average. In 2023, the
property index crime rate was 22.5 offenses per 1,000 people. These include: burglary, theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson.

Property index crimes have been declining for the past six years. However, in 2023, total property crimes
increased 2.6% from 2022. In 2023, there were 49,754 theŌ offenses, which accounted for 74.5% of total property crimes reported. There were 17,028 burglary and motor vehicle thefts, which accounted for the remaining 25.5% of the property crimes reported.

Murder: There were 157 murders reported in 2023, which was 3.3% above the 10‐year average, but 6.5% less than 2022. Despite this decrease, it was a 23.6% increase from the pre‐COVID
ten‐year average of 127 murders.

Finding a common circumstance for these murders is difficult, KBI report authors said, as 47.1% of the reports indicated “unknown circumstance.” Also, 16.6% of the murders listed an unknown suspect. Arguments, as a circumstance, accounted for 28.0% of murders; domesic violence murders accounted for 20.4%; illegal drug transactions totaled 1.9%; and gang activity and drive‐by incidents made up 1.9%. All other circumstances totaled 21.0% of the total murders in 2023.

Rape: Rapes were 6.0% below the 10‐year average. There was a decrease of 12.6% from 2022, and a 1.4% decrease from the 2019 pre‐COVID ten‐year average of 1,136.
Robbery: Robberies saw a 22.5% decline from the 10‐year average and a 0.6% decrease from 2022.
Aggravated Assault/Battery: Aggravated assaults and batteries have risen substantially since 2015. In 2023, they were 15.2% above the 10‐year average, but saw a 3.0% decrease from the 2022 totals. Notably, these numbers represent a 36.4% increase from the 2019 pre‐COVID ten‐year average of 8,005 per year.
Burglary: In 2023, there were 8,748 reported burglaries, which was 26.7% below the 10‐year average and 1.1% below 2022 numbers. This was the lowest number since 1966, when 10,712 were reported and was 42.3% less than the 2019 pre‐COVID 10‐year average of 15,164.
Theft: Reported thefts (other than motor vehicles) were 8.5% below the 10‐year average, but 2.9% above 2022 numbers. This was a 15.6% decline from the 2019 pre‐COVID 10‐year average of 58,942.

Motor Vehicle Thefts: Motor vehicle theŌs were 4.9% above the 10‐year average. This statistic is notable because motor vehicle thefts tend to have a higher rate of reporting compared to other property offenses, suggesting they would be a more accurate barometer of the actual number of property offenses occurring in Kansas. In 2023, there was a 4.8% increase from 2022, and a 15.8% increase from the 2019 pre‐COVID 10year average of 7,149.
Arson: Arsons were 18.4% below the 10‐year average and decreased by 7.7% compared to those reported in 2022. Arson figures are intended to stand apart from violent or property indices and are not included within those statistics. In 2023, there was a 31.2% decrease from the 2019 pre‐COVID 10‐year average of 666.

Dane Hicks is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and the United States Marine Corps Officer Candidate School at Quantico, VA. He is the author of novels "The Skinning Tree" and "A Whisper For Help." As publisher of the Anderson County Review in Garnett, KS., he is a recipient of the Kansas Press Association's Boyd Community Service Award as well as more than 60 awards for excellence in news, editorial and photography.

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