PITTSBURG—In 2019 Crawford County saw a significant increase in crime over the previous year compared to the statewide average, according to a new report from the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

"The 2019 Kansas Crime Index Report indicated that violent crime in Kansas increased by 2.6% in 2019," according to a KBI press release issued late last week. "A total of 12,694 violent crimes were reported in Kansas in the categories of murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault and battery. The violent crime rate is currently 17.3% above the 10-year average."

There were 146 violent offenses reported in Crawford County in 2019, up from 136 in 2018 — an increase nearly three times higher than the statewide average. The higher local crime rate was even more pronounced, meanwhile, in the category of property crime.

"According to the 2019 crime report, total property crime offenses in Kansas declined by 6.8%," the KBI release noted. "Even motor vehicle theft, which has been on the rise for several years, declined statewide in 2019."

Neither of these statistics held true in Crawford County, however, where property crime increased by more than 22 percent in 2019, with 1,569 offenses reported last year compared to 1,283 in 2018. Vehicle thefts also increased significantly — by more than 35 percent, from 115 in 2018 to 156 in 2019.

In Pittsburg, the number of violent offenses reported in 2018 and 2019 was exactly the same — 98. The higher property crime rate was consistent with the countywide increase, however, with 1,245 offenses reported by the Pittsburg Police Department in 2019 compared with 1,003 the previous year.

The PPD and the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office could not be reached for comment on possible reasons for the increased crime rate in the area by press time Monday.