KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Kansas City announced a new strategy for fighting crime today. It’s called the Kansas City No Violence Alliance or KC NOVA. The program tracks the personal relationships of criminals as a way to break the cycle of violence.
On Tuesday, police hit the streets to put the program to work, and FOX 4’s cameras were there.
Detective Tiffany Gillespie’s been with the Kansas City, Mo. Police Department for twelve years, and she’s seen a lot of violent crimes.
“It’s disheartening. Nobody wants to see anybody’s kid laying on the street,” Gillespie said.
On the street Tuesday, Gillespie and a team of Kansas City Police officers and FBI agents were looking for people with warrants out for their arrest – but these aren’t just any suspects.
“We’re not just kind of putting faces up on a wall and throwing darts at them and saying, ‘Hey let’s go get that guy.’ There is documented contact that these people have had with other violent individuals,” Gillespie said.
Police say these people are part of a network with about 360 people, a small network, that’s known to have members who are involved in violent crime. The network model was put together by Andrew Fox from UMKC.
“This is not a picture of crime, it’s just a picture of a social structure in Kansas City,” Fox said, pointing to the series of red and green dots on a map.
The more important people in a network are the bigger dots.
“Green and red distincts those who have active warrants. So you can see a lot of the people who are important had warrants out for their arrest,” Fox said.
“They’re the violent people that are causing the most problems in our city,” Gillespie explained.
The KC NOVA program aims to use its knowledge of relationships to short circuit the cycle of violent crime. It will also help those living on the edges of criminal society to turn their lives around.
“We know what you’re doing. These are the cases we have on you, or what have you, but we want you to be a productive citizen,” explained Gillespie.
Through the NOVA system, these people will be offered social services like drug counseling or job training so they can avoid a wake up call- like many people got Tuesday morning.
Seventeen people were arrested and 49 warrants were cleared in Tuesday’s operation. Police also did more than 90 residential check-ins, which means they had that many heart to heart talks to folks about the consequences of and alternatives to a criminal lifestyle.
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