Thursday, January 3, 2013

108 homicides in 2012 and looking toward less violence in 2013

Kansas City wrapped up 2012 with a homicide rate that fortunately was less than the year before but pretty in line with the last decade or so. A total of 108 people were killed here last year, compared to 114 in 2011, 106 in 2010, 110 in 2009 and 126 in 2008. Each of those 108 victims represents loved ones who are grieving and communities that are hurting. I wanted to explain a little about who these victims were and what we’re planning to do to stop others from becoming victims of violent crime.

The youngest homicide victim in 2012 was 5-month-old Zavion Dunmore, who died from trauma sustained in child abuse on March 13. Keith L. Nelson, 43, has been charged with second-degree murder in his death. The oldest victim was 62-year-old Donna Pike, killed along with her son and a handyman at their home at 39th and Paseo on Jan. 16 of last year. Anthony W. Walker, 46, has been charged with three counts each of first-degree murder, armed criminal action and burglary in their slayings.

Guns continued to be the city’s leading instruments of homicide, used in 83 percent of 2012’s murders. Anger management also continues to be a major problem, with arguments cited as the motive in 22 slayings. Domestic violence and robberies were the cause of eight killings each, and four we know were drug-related.

Black males comprised two thirds of the City’s victims as well as about 69 percent of known suspects. The age group with the highest number of slayings was 17 to 24. You can see a full summary of 2012 homicides on our web site.

We are doing several things to combat this violence. I have great hope in what the Kansas City No Violence Alliance can accomplish, which I blogged about here last month. This will bring many pieces of the criminal justice system together to target the offenders who are responsible for the majority of Kansas City’s violent crime. KC NoVA has the potential to substantially drop our homicide statistics. Hot spot policing also has become a way we do business. Focusing on these violent crime hot spots is paying off. As I also blogged last month,just 40 percent of the City’s homicides now occur in these neighborhoods, as opposed to the 52 percent that occurred there in 2011. And this year’s overall lower homicide rate would indicate that crime isn’t getting displaced elsewhere.

As always, our greatest crime-fighting tool is you, the residents of Kansas City. Building relationships and trust between the police and the community has been one of my top priorities since I was appointed Chief, and it will continue to be so in 2013.

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