Topeka Police speaking out after near record murder rate

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT)  –  Topeka is nearing a record number of murders and the Topeka Police Department are looking for the community’s help to turn the tide. There have been 25 murders in the last 10 months.

It’s a crime wave that has many in the Capitol City on edge, but Deputy Police Chief Darin Scott said the average person isn’t being targeted. He said most of the victims knew their attacker.

“You’d almost have to have a police officer in the house or in the apartment when [the murders] took place to stop it,” said Scott

Scott said this is part of a crime wave that is being seen nationwide. Still, he said police are doing what they can to keep the public safe. They have doubled the number of officers in their organized crime unit and they’ve increased the number of officers out on weekends.

They are also looking at data to determine which neighborhoods are seeing a spike in crime and putting more officers on patrol. He said they’re seeing results, but it will only go so far.

“Just like we’ve seen a 55 percent drop in crime in that same area where that young man was found yesterday, the fact remains that violent crime still continues,” Scott said.

Scott said the neighborhood was helpful during the beginning of their investigation into the shooting in Central Topeka on Monday. However, they still need more information. Scott said they’ve determined that 5-6 people may have been involved in that crime. They’re hoping anyone with information will reach out.

There are a number of programs with youth in Topeka, according to Scott. They hope these interactions will help harbor good relationships with law enforcement and keep kids on the right path. But they’re looking for the community to be on the lookout.

“What we need is moms, daughters, aunts, uncles, dads, grandpas, grandmas… when they see their child heading in the wrong direction, let us know,” Scott said.

Scott said TPD is doing all this while understaffed. While they have officers in training, he said they will be doing “28 officers on the street” by the end of the year.

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