Kruger Murder Heightens Omaha Crime Awareness
Omaha, NE- Crime has rocked areas of Omaha this summer that are considered safe. Andrea Kruger’s murder early Wednesday morning is the latest in a series of high profile killings.
Last month an elderly woman was raped and killed in her Little Italy home during an apparent random attack. Earlier this week, a man confessed to killing his ex-girlfriend the day he was released from a mental health facility.
At the playground, a mother’s instinct is to protect her children. But in Omaha’s Stinson Park Thursday, mothers said they were worried about not only the recent crimes, but where they were happening.
“It literally brought tears to my eyes,” said Trisha Stibbe. “She has three kids at home, and that could have been me. I have three kids. And it’s terrifying. You never know who to trust these days.”
Stibbe didn’t know Kruger, but has her job. Like Kruger, Stibbe is a young mom taking care of her children each day.
“It's scary. Scary,” said Katie Wierzbicki. “You don't feel safe in any area of town really. I used to just think it was South and North and East and that's not the case anymore.”
After a lifetime in Omaha, Wierzbicki has noticed changes. She believes they’re threatening her family’s future safety, especially her 13-month child, Mac.
“And I think in all areas of town it's gone up. We're actually moving to Papillion and I honestly feel better about moving there than I do living in Omaha,” said Wierzbicki.
“Is there more violence or less violence? I think it's always been the same,” said Omaha resident Zach Barrientos. “It's just now people are relating to it now.”
Barrientos believes crime is a city-wide issue. Angelika Becker shares that perspective.
“I grew up with it. I grew up knowing about the gangs,” Becker said.
She grew up in the close-knit Benson Community, where Becker said crime is also getting worse. If it is moving to other parts of town, Becker’s not surprised.
“The more fear you put in your neighborhood because of it, the more you try to isolate yourself from it, from your neighbors, the more at risk you're going to be,” she said.
Becker offered that advice to residents in neighborhoods that don’t often experience violent crimes. It’s also her advice to the mothers in Stinson Park, holding on to their motherly instincts; already making changes to keep their families safe.
“I double-check the locks at night. I used to leave my garage side door open, make sure that's locked every night with a deadbolt,” Stibbe said.