Rising violent crime in Wichita, Sedgwick County

WICHITA, Kan. Law enforcement in Wichita and Sedgwick County is facing several challenges with an increase in violent crimes across the board, and jails so full they pay other agencies to house them.

The numbers tell the story with homicides up 46 percent since 2014, rapes up 48 percent in the same time period and aggravated assaults up 41 percent.

The county forensic center cited these Wichita police statistics during budget hearings.

The jail is full here in Sedgwick County.

"It's not stagnant, it's rising and for this time of year it's alarming,” said Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter.

Alarming is the same word Sedgwick County Commissioner Jim Howell used to describe the crime trends.

"When I see crime trends going in the wrong direction, then I'm really worried about what does that mean in terms of jail space needs down the road, what about staff needs," said Howell.

"Sedgwick County what we're seeing is an increase in property crimes, burglaries, larcenies, those type of things, we know just because of the numbers being booked in the jail that there is an increase in violent crimes in the city of Wichita,” said Sheriff Easter.

A sharp increase in violent crime means more inmates in Sedgwick County jail.

"We don't have the space here, so we have to ship, so as of today we shipped out 291 inmates to different counties for them to house them,” said Sheriff Easter.

The county also needs to hire more than 60 deputies for the jail.
"As it does get worse we depend on our other staff more and more and the burnout continues to increase, so the problem almost exacerbates itself,” said Sheriff Easter.

A couple solutions for the jail problems include looking at raises again for jail deputies, and the old work release building is becoming a jail extension.