Top dollar for tips: Kansas City increases TIPS Hotline reward to help solve homicides

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- There's now a bit more incentive to help Kansas City police solve homicides -- $3,000 more incentive, to be precise.

Since the beginning of the year, Kansas City Police have investigated more than 120 murders. To help bring justice and closure to the families of those killed, officers said they need help from the community and are increasing the TIPS Hotline reward from $2,000 to $5,000.

"We hope to see a dramatic increase," Kansas City Police Det. Kevin Boehm said. "What I can tell you is, over the history of our program, we've taken over 144,000 anonymous tips and we've cleared 629 homicides from the greater Kansas City metropolitan area."

The TIPS Hotline is a service designed to protect witnesses as they provide valuable information to investigating officers, but KCPD Police Chief Rick Smith said it's a service not being used enough.

"Our clearance rate this year isn't where we'd like it to be," Smith said. "We're looking at all angles at what we can do to raise that clearance rate, and one of things that we think may have an affect on it is the Crime Commission to address that through the TIPS Hotline and tip reward money."

Rick Anderson, President of the Crime Commission, said the national average of solved homicides is around 60 percent, and increasing the reward will lead to more call volume.

"Most homicides are solved by witnesses, and those people who will be willing to come forward can be enticed I think sometimes by the increase in the dollar amount, and it's been proven," Anderson said.

It's a step that AdHoc President Damon Daniel said is a positive one.

"Our community will never be safe if we continue to allow killers to live among us. So the more that we can allow for folks to remain anonymous when they call in, it’s a great opportunity for people to share." Daniel said. "The more that people can come forward, they are actually helping bring justice to our community and helping bring some sense of closure to families who definitely deserve it."

The Crime Commission is currently searching for funding to expand the reward increase throughout the metro.

To report an anonymous tip on the TIPS Hotline, call 816-474-8477.