Police deal with more murder  – locally and nationally

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker. Courtesy Jackson County Prosecutor's office.

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker. Courtesy Jackson County Prosecutor’s office.

Kansas City police continue to refine efforts to reduce the city homicide rate, they reported Thursday to the city council.

The Kansas City No Violence Alliance of police, prosecutors and others is credited with reducing homicides to 80 last year, the lowest level in four decades.

But homicides are up this year – 56 now compared to 51 at this time last year.

NoVA uses police intelligence to find those at risk of violent offenses and try to get them out of crime with help from social services and others. If that fails, police arrest all in a group if a member uses violence.

But police reported that eight of the homicides this year, the most since all of 2012, involved domestic violence not tied to a group.

They are trying to put together a program to better target such violence, they said.

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker, a member of NoVA, said that the increase in homicides this year is still at a low rate, and “This is more about the long game instead of taking a snapshot in time.”

She noted a New York Times article last week that documented a surge in homicides in at least 35 cities.

For instance, in St. Louis, 136 people were killed by late August, a 60 percent increase from 85 murders at the same time last year. In New Orleans more than 120 people killed compared to 98 at the same time last year.

The article quoted top police officials who said they are “seeing a growing willingness among disenchanted young men in poor neighborhoods to use violence to settle ordinary problems.”

New Orleans Police Superintendent Michael S. Harrison told the Times the sharp rise in homicides seemed to involve killings inside homes and cars by people who know their victims.

“It speaks to a culture of violence deeply ingrained into a community – a segment of the population where people are resolving their problems in a violent way.”


One Comment

  1. Billy Brame says:

    Please print another story that puts this in greater context. Violent crime is way down. Way way way down. In KC and everywhere. This kind of story scares people for no reason. We want more people to live in a midtown they feel to be safe. It is safe. Saying kids in poor neighborhoods are more willing to be violent this year is super misleading.


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