Monday, December 17, 2012

KC NoVA moving forward, set to make big impact on violent crime in 2013

In May of this year, we and several partner agencies announced the creation of the Kansas City No Violence Alliance – or KC NoVA. Since that time, pieces are falling into place to significantly reduce the City’s violent crime in 2013. Repeat offenders who are all too familiar with the criminal justice system will see harsh legal consequences like never before because the system is going to work differently.

KC NoVA is a focused deterrence model similar to what has worked in other cities like Cincinnati and Boston. (Homicides fell by 47 percent in Cincinnati with this type of program.) It focuses law enforcement resources on the most violent offenders and groups while incorporating various systems of support to help lower-level offenders change their paths. Here in Kansas City, it incorporates municipal and federal law enforcement; local, state and federal prosecutors; Probation and Parole; the City; the juvenile justice system and academic research.

Here at KCPD, I have assigned a captain to oversee the project, as well as a sergeant and two detectives. But the whole department will be participating in gathering intelligence and identifying the worst perpetrators of crime in our city. The KC NoVA team is collocated with prosecutors in the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office, and they are working with a research team at the University of Missouri Kansas City to analyze and diagram the city’s criminal networks, targeting the most central figures for swift and certain prosecution.

Those who are on the periphery of those networks and not as heavily involved in violent crime also will be targeted, but for different reasons. They will be offered social services to help them leave crime behind and become productive members of society. They will be assigned case managers who will assist them with things like anger management, life skills, job training, housing and transportation.

Many of these violent crime prevention efforts also begin with offenders re-entering the City after serving time in prison for violent offenses. We are partnering with Probation and Parole like never before. Just last week, a team of KCPD officers met with a man who had been in prison for 26 years and was getting out that day. The officers told him about the resources available to him for successfully re-entering society and let him know they would be checking on him regularly. He is going back to be surrounded by many of the same violent people he was when he committed the crime, but we hope these interventions will help him turn away from those negative influences.

KC NoVA also is working with faith-based communities, family members of those involved in violent crime and neighborhoods to deter violent crime and heal communities.

Deterrence is KC NoVA’s ultimate goal. We hope to achieve this by cracking down very hard on the most violent offenders and giving lower-level offenders the tools they need to get away from a life of crime. I anticipate that you will see a significant reduction in homicides and aggravated assaults in 2013 and the years to come thanks to KC NoVA’s efforts.

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