Wichita, Kansas crime went up, not down in 2022, state says after finding ‘system error’

Violent crime in Wichita and Kansas increased instead of declining last year, according to a crime report that was corrected after a “system error” significantly underreported crime in Wichita, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation said.

Property crime in Wichita also increased in the amended KBI report, after the original report showed that it declined.

Total violent crime in Wichita went from 3,681 incidents to 4,369 in the amended report; statewide it went from 12,849 to 13,808. Total property crime in Wichita went from 14,061 to 16,915 in the amended report; statewide went from 61,125 to 65,119 in the amended report.

The KBI reopened submissions from police departments for crime that happened last year after Wichita police notified them of a problem with the data released in July, KBI spokesperson Melissa Underwood said in a news release.

The Eagle had reported about inaccuracies and inconsistencies in Wichita police data in June.

Underwood said the KBI has never had to amend a report before.

“We determined that a mass submission of offense data was sent, over 6,000 entries at once,” Underwood said in an email about the issue with Wichita police reports. “The batch was too large for our system to ingest and the submission also contained several coding errors. The system error messages weren’t noticed until after publication.”

Wichita police Lt. Aaron Moses said they have sent over large entries before, but have since changed the process to prevent problems in the future. There were less than 10 cases in the batch that had coding errors and, he said the errors came on the state’s end.

“Our understanding is the error occurred when the data transitioned from the KBI Gateway to the KBI repository due to multiple sets of validation requirements that are different between the two data locations,” he said in an email. “We place the raw case data into the Gateway, and the rest of the process is completed by the state system. Neither the state nor (Wichita Police Department) recognized the issue in the data transfer until after the initial report was published.”

Arrest records are submitted through the KBI’s Kansas Incident Based Reporting System, which is an “outdated system that operates with severe constraints on how statistics can be collected, utilized and interpreted,” Underwood said in the news release.

“However, the KBI has been overseeing a major upgrade of KIBRS to enhance this statewide crime information database,” she said. “Once completed the new system will significantly improve crime reporting and crime trend analysis in Kansas.”

The Eagle chose not to report the data released in July because of concerns it had already reported about Wichita police data. In October 2022, The Eagle reported how a new police records system resulted in thousands of faulty and incomplete crash reports being sent to the state. And in June, The Eagle reported huge differences in crime in Wichita reported by police, the KBI and FBI despite all the data originating from Wichita police.

Moses previously told The Eagle that the differences in crime data were also likely due to a new records management system, NicheRMS365.

But, he said, Niche was not what led to the problem with the KBI data.

Amended crime in Wichita

The data police provide to the KBI is what’s available. Wichita Police Chief Joseph Sullivan said in November that the police department has added additional quality assurance checks to ensure accuracy.

The amended data sent to the KBI shows violent crime in Wichita was up year over year, but was still down from a decade-plus high in 2020, when crime spiked nationwide.

And it was above the 10-year average for most categories. The 32 reported murders were below the average of around 34. There were 35 homicides last year, including one officer-involved fatal shooting. Accidental killings, which are homicides, are not counted as murder.

Additionally, there were 304 reported rapes (10-year average including 2022 is 300); 357 robberies (average is 521) and 3,676 aggravated assault/batteries (average 3,230).

Property crime was up year over year, from 16,459 to 16,915.

However, it was down in all categories compared with the 10-year average. There were 2,052 burglaries (average 2,954), 12,952 thefts (average 14,587) and 1,911 motor vehicle thefts (average 2,230).

Amended crime in the state

The amended statewide data shows four out of the five categories of violent crime were up year over year and over the 10-year average.

  • Murder was the only thing down year over year, from 173 to 168.

  • Over the 10-year average, robbery was the only category down, from an average of 1,442 to 1,104 for 2022.

Property crime was down year over year and on the 10-year average.