Police hope to reduce homicides with new approach


The map from CrimeReports shows homicides reported by the Kansas City Police Department between June 17 and Dec. 17, 2012.

More than 100 people died from homicide in Kansas City this year, just like more than that died in all but nine of the last 42 years.

Police Chief Darryl Forte on Monday blogged about a new approach that police hope will drastically lower that number forever.

Police, prosecutors, probation and parole, family support groups, social workers, and faith-based efforts will target groups of violent criminals to either help them or send them to prison.

The approach reduced all homicides by 47 percent in Cincinnati, they say, and reduced youth homicides by 63 percent in Boston.

Police hope it reduces them by at least 30 percent in Kansas City.

Forte said that police, prosecutors, probation and parole officers and others have started the Kansas City No Violence Alliance and pieces of it are falling into place.

Police are using intelligence information to identify criminals and diagram their connections and networks. They will target the most violent for prosecution and prison and offer social services and help to more minor players, he said.

Capt. Joe McHale, the project manager for the alliance, works out of prosecutor offices in the Downtown Jackson County courthouse. A sergeant and two detectives work with him and get technical assistance from a criminal justice research team at  the University of Missouri at Kansas City.

McHale said in a recent interview that they had identified a network of 365 criminals, along with their connections, beefs and alliances.

Many are on probation and many are wanted for crimes. That is a lot of leverage for police when they move in with offers of things like substance abuse treatment, transitional housing, education – or else.

“Deterrence is KC NoVA’s ultimate goal,” Forte said, and they hope to do it by cracking down hard on violent offenders and helping low level criminals 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 …,” he said.

Time and body counts will tell.

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