More homicides but work goes on

Joe McHale. File photo.

Joe McHale. File photo.

No one could say why homicides are up in Kansas City from a four-decade low last year, but more involve individual disputes and domestic violence.

As of last week, the number of homicides stands at 88 compared to 81 for all of last year, police reported today to the mayor and city manager.

The Kansas City No Violence Alliance is credited with helping reduce group related homicides. There have been 47 of those this year compared to 46 for all of last year, said Major Joe McHale, project manager.

There have been 41 other homicides from other things, like arguments and domestic violence, he said, compared to 35 for all of last year.

The Kansas City total is still increasing at a lower rate than in many comparable cities, he said:

St. Louis has 169 homicides this year compared to 159 for all of last year, Baltimore has 284 compared to 183, and Milwaukee has 131 this year compared to 86 all of last year.

NoVA has identified 59 crime groups, more than 1,000 people that it tries to lure away from crime, or lock up if they engage in violence.

McHale has said they are also researching how to better attack domestic violence.

And he said he hopes to make more use of the Teens in Transition program for high-risk youth. The program involves mentors and arts projects, and it often works.

This year, 32 youth of 44 graduated from the program and so far only two graduates have had negative police contact, he said.

In 2014, 21 of 30 youth graduated and only six graduates have had negative police contact.

But McHale said some of the 2014 failures committed serious violent crimes.

Mayor Sly James said he was pleased the program helped the vast majority of youth in it.

As for the others, he said, it may be like starfish stranded on beaches: You throw as many as you can back into the ocean but some will never swim.

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