KCMO police reorganize to focus on high-crime area

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A massive reorganization of the police department is targeting violent crime in a small area of the city.

Police say violent crime is concentrated in neighborhoods that make up only about one-tenth of Kansas City. They have identified 34 square miles where most of the killings, shootings and drug dealing has been happening. The area includes Oak Park, Blue Hills and the Old Northeast, where three out of four homicides happened last year.

Police recently moved more than 40 officers to focus on crime in these neighborhoods in hopes of eliminating the violence.

The changes come in partnership with Kansas City's No Violence Alliance, an effort by prosecutors and police to identify the social circles of career criminals.

A new law enforcement resource center uses crime analysts to try to predict who may become the next dangerous felon.

But in Blue Hills, the murder of a mother and her young daughter last year prompted community outrage, however to this day the case remains unsolved. As a result the police plan has been met with skepticism by some who say technology can't replace personal interaction with potential bad guys.

"That was one of my philosophies to deal with the people I felt were causing the crime," said Mark Porter, leader of 100 Men of Blue Hills. "It had to be face-to-face, a people-to-people type of thing to show concern for the community and to influence those people that would be basically troublemakers not to commit those crimes in the community."

The 34-square-mile area where police are devoting more resources is south of the Missouri River on both sides of Bruce Watkins Drive down to 85th street.

Nearly everyone agrees that police can't stop violence alone. Porter says improved education for kids that results in more young people securing jobs would go a long way toward deterring dangerous violence.

The new approach may be helping. So far this year, there have been only 15 homicides, eight fewer than at this same time last year.

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  • Joe

    Perhaps we should demand better from the parents of these thugs. The thugs begin their ways in school and are easily recognized by teachers. If the parents don’t see it, let them suffer the consequences for the actions of their kids.

  • jane

    there is parents alot of single parents out here n with the laws the way they are we single parents cant do nothing once our kids turn 16 but yet we are still responsible i know alot of out of control kids and the parents and i have tried to fix it we have even called police the police tell us there is nothing they can do if children had a place to go there would not be so much going on if you dont live in one of these hoods you really cant see whats going on but yet everybody wants to fix it i live here in old northeast and alot of these kids just want love and support what they dont get at home i have helped out several of these so called thugs and yet today they thank me i helped them threw school and alot are now in college all from love and understanding i cant save all of them but i can help i have opened my door to several young thugs that had no home life and now they are in high school or college and they show me much respect some even thank me they could be in jail or dead but i showed them a different life so before you judge these kids or as you call them young thugs try talking to them and stop placing a label on them these are different times we are in how would you like it if u didnt dress a different way or just put a label on you just try to help these young thugs show them a different way i hear alot and most of them say nobody listens to me or that there not loved also for a final note some of them know no different the people they look up to are dead or in prison because in the real life nobody cares or just dont listen to them just stop judging them and step foot in the hood instead of being on the outside looking in dont be scared there are alot of good thugs just had too many broken promises and broken hearts.

    • WhySoSerious

      The ones we are judging are the ones committing the crimes, not labeling the whole population as thugs. You sound like a nice person giving out love to those who don’t get it, but using “I’m not being loved” is not an excuse for acting a fool! The people you speak of need to love (Themselves) first which is called PRIDE and leads to Responsibility! Responsibility leads to Accountability and with that you have a thug less society!