Sex Crimes And DUIs Are Up In Lawrence

By: Suzie Gilbert Email
By: Suzie Gilbert Email

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- New statistics from the Lawrence Police Department show a dramatic rise in sex crimes and DUI offenses over the past year. (VIDEO INCLUDED)

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Lawrence residents and students at University of Kansas students say they're alarmed and concerned.

The comfortable, safe, small town of Lawrence got some unsettling news in the latest 2009 crime statistics. Not because overall crime rates are up, they're actually down, but because sex crimes and DUIs have risen sharply in the past year.

"I think the women, the girls that go to school here, I think they're scared," Lawrence resident Jeremy Bash said.

The troubling numbers show rapes in Lawrence are up more than 50 percent in the last year. Forcible sodomy up 62 percent. Statutory rape up 40 percent. Incest up two cases from zero in 2008. And d-u-i offenses up 25 percent.

Residents say they aren't sure what's causing the increased DUIs, but that people should recognize it's a serious risk.

"You'd think it would be a little bit higher in people's consciousness right now, apparently that's just not the case," University of Kansas student Ben Cohen said.

Lawrence women hear the numbers loud and clear.

"I think it's pretty scary especially because I live in a sorority house and that's a main target area," said Lawrence resident Kelly Unger.

They say staying safe depends on coming together, being careful, staying educated and aware. "Sometimes we just need to take a step back and realize what's really going on," Unger said.

KU offers services such as safe ride and safe bus for students to get home from bars or anywhere at night.

The Lawrence Police Department and the Douglas County Sheriff's Department both refused to comment at all on the crime statistics.


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