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Kansas City violent crime down in 2018, but citizens are not celebrating

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- There were fewer violent crimes reported last year, but community groups fighting crime say Kansas City doesn't feel much safer.

Grassroots groups like the Ad Hoc Group Against Crime say there are still far too many shootings that pose a danger to everyone.

Kansas City ended the year with 135 homicides.

That's down from 151 in 2017, but doesn't feel like much improvement when people consider that during the holiday month of December, which is supposed to be a time of peace and joy, Kansas City instead had 13 bloody killings.

Community groups say too much violence still happens among young people. About one out of three homicide victims in 2018 was under 24 years old.

"The number of shootings really isn’t down," director of Ad Hoc Damon Daniel said. "And if you ask many neighborhoods in Kansas City, particularly those that are east of Troost and plagued with all the violence, people will tell you that they don’t feel like much has changed."

Just five years ago, Kansas City had only 82 homicides for the year, and police and community groups believe pushing that number below triple digits is a more realistic sign of progress.

Still, other violent crimes: including reports of sexual assaults, robberies and abductions also were lower last year.

There are more community police officers working in neighborhoods and an increase in the TIPS hotline reward to $10,000 for homicides also may be playing a role.

Enforcement efforts this year will focus on illegal use of weapons, to reduce homicides and aggravated assaults caused by shootings.

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