Thursday, October 1, 2015

Area-specific violence is being addressed

Some recent acts of violence have prompted inquiries about possible rashes of crime in different parts of our city. I’ve heard concern about the old Northeast and the 18th and Vine entertainment district among other areas, lately. 

Let me assure you that no area of the city is having an abnormal outbreak of violent crime. As I discussed in my previous post, homicides and assaults with a weapon are up this year compared to the record-low last year, but we still remain well below where we have been for the last four decades. All other types of crime in the city are down.

This is not to say we aren’t doing everything we can to prevent and solve crime and make people feel safe. I’ve talked a lot about our prevention efforts on this blog, ranging from the Kansas City No Violence Alliance to deploying extra resources to hot spots. There are so many other things happening. Weekly intelligence-sharing meetings keep everyone in patrol and investigations abreast of the most serious crime trends, suspects and problem areas. We then deploy the necessary resources – from increased police presence to covert operations – to stop the criminal activity. These intel-sharing efforts have gone down to the patrol division level, too. Your local officers work with schools, businesses, prosecutors, non-profits, and most importantly, of course – residents – to identify patterns of crime and ways to prevent them. The officers who work in your neighborhood know the areas experiencing issues, and they usually know who is engaging in criminal behavior. They need your help to further identify those suspects and get them into custody. And detectives need community assistance to gather enough evidence for successful prosecution.

Let me share a recent success story of all these pieces working together. The Historic Northeast neighborhood was recently plagued by a burglar who broke into victims’ homes while they were still inside. Crime analysts and district officers recognized the pattern and deployed resources ranging from extra patrol to cameras to under-cover officers. Neighbors and East Patrol officers held a community meeting to discuss the problem, actions residents could take to prevent crime and how to assist police. More than 100 people came to the meeting. Afterward, the burglar was caught and linked to about 20 crimes. This was an excellent collaboration between residents and police.

Similar work is happening in the 18th and Vine area. Central Patrol Division, the Vice Unit and the City’s Regulated Industries are working with business owners in the entertainment district to address violence that has erupted there. Additional officers also will be deployed at busier times like nights and weekends. Everyone should feel safe patronizing Kansas City’s entertainment districts. They are an integral part of our culture and make our city unique. KCPD constantly works with the management of these districts, as well as the businesses located within them, to ensure a safe environment. We also have excellent partnerships with the private security agencies who work in these areas. Everyone’s goal is to provide a fun place where people can enjoy themselves without fear.

Once a crime takes place, we also devote significant resources to solving it. During the first two weeks of September, Kansas City experienced multiple homicides. The Violent Crime Division alone expended more than $60,000 on overtime those two weeks. That is 1,206.3 extra hours put in by a few squads of detectives in just two weeks to solve these cases. That does not include the work done by crime scene investigators, analysts at the Crime Lab, or specialized units like the Illegal Firearms Squad, Career Criminal Squad or the many others who are involved in investigating these cases, arresting suspects and submitting cases for prosecution. We also have victim advocates who work every day with violent crime victims and their surviving loved ones.

We have incredibly dedicated people who work around the clock to get dangerous people into custody and provide justice. They work long, hard hours to ensure those who commit acts of violence will be stopped before they can hurt others. And as always, they need the help of other segments of the community to make that happen.

Send comments to