Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Deadly weekend prompts deployment of more resources in hot spots

This weekend was a tragic one in Kansas City: six homicides and another suspicious death under investigation. I lost a friend who I’ve known since I was 12 to the violence. Anthony Carlos Richardson was killed in a domestic violence-related triple homicide on Friday. We built a two-story club house together and called each other “brothers.” More recently, we talked every day on the phone, and I still have some of the inspiring text messages he often sent me in the mornings. I heard the pain in his mother’s voice on the phone this weekend, and I know the families of victims of violent crime are feeling the same hurt.

That’s why we are committed to continuing to go where the criminals are and stop them. We’ve been doing hot spot policing for almost a month now. This weekend’s homicides were a setback, but they will not deter us. I immediately deployed additional resources this weekend, including officers who weren’t scheduled to work. We watch crime data and gather intelligence information every day and will be adjusting our deployment as needed. As Mayor Sly James said about the hot spot approach at our press conference this weekend to address the violence, “We’re in the first inning of a baseball game here.”

But if anything good came out of the three separate homicide incidents this weekend, it’s that people came forward to give police information in each of them. Charges already have been filed in the triple homicide in which my friend was killed, and police are looking into good leads in the others. It’s too early to say whether this cooperation is indicative of a changing attitude toward the police, but I hope so. If you have any information, I ask you to contact police or the TIPS Hotline (816-474-TIPS).

My strategy of hot spot policing goes hand in hand with building relationships with the community. We’re seeking to go into neighborhoods, separate the offenders from the victims, and root out weapons. We don’t want to be heavy-handed, except with those who are causing the problems.

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