Gang-related crime down sharply in Wichita, police say

Gang-related crime in Wichita is down significantly compared to a year ago, police said Thursday, and a summer crackdown on Hispanic gang members has dramatically lowered violent crime in certain neighborhoods.

But police concede they are troubled that a lot of gang-related crime is unreported.

"The good news is, a lot of our major crimes and gang-related statistics are down," Deputy Chief Tom Stolz said. "The bad news is, we could do better."

Through Nov. 12, gang-related homicides have dropped 40 percent from a year ago, said Lt. Todd Ojile, who heads the police gang section.

Aggravated assaults with firearms involving gang members -- such as drive-by shootings -- have fallen 31 percent.

Nearly 200 gang members have been charged with 367 crimes, and gang members have been charged in a dozen federal cases. Police say parole has been revoked on 44 gang members because of violations.

But as investigators probed the death of Tyron Squires -- who was shot early Nov. 2 as he walked in the 1300 block of North Madison -- a disturbing trend emerged.

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