Changing the perception around crime in Topeka

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TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Crime rates are a major concern in many cities across America. But when it comes to Topeka, some say it might not be as bad as you think.

Topeka Police are working hard to connect with the community through a series of meetings. Part of what they want is to change the perception of how much crime there is in the capital city.

Carol Christensen was one of the people at Monday’s meeting.

“I think in some communities there’s a lot of distrust with the police department but I think they’re really making a lot of effort to reach out and be responsive to the needs of the community,” Christensen said.

She has lived in Topeka for four decades now and thinks a false perception that Topeka is a dangerous city with a lot of crime keeps people from coming to and staying there.

“I understand that some people maybe think that Lawrence is more fun or whatever, but I think some of it may be because of a perception of what Topeka is like,” Christensen said. “I think crime may be one of the issues they have a false perception of.”

It’s an issue that Topeka Police notice too. Major Russell Klumpp led Monday’s community meeting.

“High profile crimes can sometimes distort the perception of crime because it gets so much attention. That certainly has an impact on how people feel as far as their feeling of safety,” Klumpp said.

They hope that the meetings they’re having help. However, sometimes they’re not very highly attended, like on Monday’s meeting where around 15 people showed up.

“That’s why we do these is to get a message out and the more we have attended and the better conversation that we have, the more we’re able to accomplish that mission,” Klumpp said.

They hope everyone starts to feel like Carol does.

“I know that we hear about things all the time, but I feel very safe and think things are good,” Christensen said.

Topeka Police said they’d love to see even more people who have concerns about crime come to the meetings and be part of the conversation.

You can find out more about them here.

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