After a disturbing start to 2012, Kansas City’s homicide rate is now at its lowest point in five years. We have 61 homicides to date so far. At this time during the last four years, we were at 65 homicides, with the exception of 2009, when we had 72.
The summer months are typically the most violent of the year, and August tends to be the most challenging. I am heartened the killings have been kept in check. Although 61 families are mourning the loss of loved ones to violence this year, I am grateful there are not more. Still, 61 is far too many.
I often hear that Kansas City has “an escalating homicide rate,” and that simply is not true. Many factors contribute to the rate – everything from employment to education. Law enforcement, of course, plays a small but very important role. I have said repeatedly that the vast majority of these homicides are not random. People involved in criminal activity are more likely to be victims of violence. By clamping down on crime in hot spot neighborhoods, police are working to stop the activities that lead to killings. I appreciate the officers and other department members who regularly patrol and work in these neighborhoods and those who are on special assignment there.
I also appreciate the many citizens who have stepped up to make their neighborhoods safer. They are cooperating with law enforcement, submitting tips and making a big difference.
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