Residents feel safe, but recent string of homicides is taxing on Lawrence’s resources

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LAWRENCE, Kan. -- After five years without a homicide, the city of Lawrence has seen six in the past 10 months. All have been cleared, but the caseload is taking a toll on the department. Dating back to last summer, six people have been killed in different parts of the city, the latest was on Sunday.

There is only one common denominator: The suspects knew the victims. Despite the recent violence, residents that FOX 4 spoke with still feel safe.

“Quiet neighborhood, mixture of people, got families across the street, we got retired people all kinds of people,” said Don Pierce.

Pierce moved back to Lawrence last summer just as the latest spike and deadly violence began. In November a woman next door was killed.

“It was very unusual. That surprised everybody talked to in the neighborhood,” he said.

Despite it happening next door, Pierce isn’t worried.

“It’s very, very safe. We feel very safe,” he affirmed.

The string of homicides started July 17, 2013 in the 600 block of Michigan. In November a wife was killed on West 2nd Terrace. On Christmas Day the third homicide took place on West 24th Street, and then three weeks later the 4th happened on West 26th Street

Then in early March a drug related homicide took place on Cedar. On Mother's Day, a sixth person was killed on 13th Street. Lawrence police want everyone to know, the homicides have not been random attack

“That should put people's minds at ease a little,” said Sergeant Trent McKinley with the Lawrence Police Department.

Another thing that should help residents feel safer is that police have made arrests in each case. However, six cases in 10 months has been tough on department resources.

“Since July we have been overwhelmed we have been taxed to the point of breaking many times,” Sgt. McKinley said.

He said the department isn't complaining, but it's true everyone knew what they signed up for to protect and serve the citizens of Lawrence. But sometime soon, they're going to need some more help.

“We are taking a hard look at resources we have at the police department and everybody in the community knows that we do need more resources,” Sgt. McKinley said.

He said exactly what resources depend on budget talks later this year. In the meantime, his department will continue to do their jobs, but the hope is the homicide spike is over.

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