Just because summer is ending doesn’t mean our commitment to reducing crime in the places it’s most likely to occur will fall off. We remain dedicated to hot spot policing and building relationships in neighborhoods that have long distrusted law enforcement. Officers from all over the department will continue special assignments to hot spot areas to combat crimes and communicate with residents. Crime does not stop when summer ends. We had 17 homicides last November and will do everything we can to prevent another such occurrence.
Homicide numbers are down from the four previous years, but it’s too early to celebrate on that front. I feel the true indicator of violent crime is aggravated assault statistics. These are assaults committed with weapons. Through August of 2012, aggravated assaults are down 1.6 percent compared to this time last year. It’s a small decline, but one we will work to continue.
The vast majority of these aggravated assaults and homicides are committed with guns, so we will be increasing our efforts to get illegal weapons off the street. Officers will increase the amount of car checks they conduct. These checks will be done legally, ethically and respectfully. We will check vehicles and occupants who generate reasonable suspicion, in accordance with the law.
But the No. 1 priority for me is for police to make contact with citizens. Crime prevention efforts are not just about putting people in jail. They are about building trust and lines of communication with the community, and I see that happening more and more. There has been a certain energy of cooperation lately, with more and more residents stepping up and giving us information.
I want to thank all the department members who have made reducing crime in these areas and throughout the city a priority. I know their schedules have been altered and their lives have been disrupted to provide the extra resources. I thank them for their continued positive attitude and efforts toward keeping the residents of Kansas City safe.
They soon will be getting more assistance. Some exciting developments are underway at KCPD. I’ll be addressing them in future blogs, but I wanted to give you a taste of what’s in the works:
• A Law Enforcement Resource Center – The LERC will contain a real-time data component that will give department members in patrol and investigations the instantaneous information they need to make the best decisions possible.
• Shot Spotter- This technology that can detect gunfire and where it came from will be launching in the near future.
• KC NoVA – The Kansas City No Violence Alliance is a partnership between the police department and the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office. It is expected to launch in the beginning of 2013 and will target the most violent offenders in our community.
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