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New program seeing success in Tampa aims to get repeat violent offenders off KC streets

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Violent crimes tear apart Kansas City, but police say it's because of a handful of people. Now they have a plan to change that by adding to Project Safe Neighborhoods.

"We`ve adopted a target system or identification system that Tampa Bay used," David Bosworth, KCPD Deputy Chief said. "It`s based on documented violent behavior."
Tampa's strategy is called the Violent Impact Player program, or VIP. It uses data to identify and focus on a city's most violent criminals as individuals. That system earned Tampa PD the 2018 Project Safe Neighborhoods award and led to an eight percent drop in violent crime.
"Some of the things we are using to document these individuals is gang members or their affiliates, arrest or offense with fire arm, violent criminal history, probation or parole release, shooter, victim or suspect of a shooting," Bosworth said.
With the adoption of Tampa's program, which involves weekly meetings between law enforcement agencies and prosecutors, community members hope to see crime reduced.
"You hear about the same individual names that are doing things in our community," Rosilyn Temple, Director of KC Mother's in Charge, said. "It's hurting our families"
Temple goes to homicides scenes to help families. She's seen it all and says if the VIP program works and locks up Kansas City's most violent offenders, it would take away fear that leaves crimes unsolved.
"These people are still walking around in our communities doing the same things," Temple said. "So people are afraid to come forth and speak about someone that has done something."
The goal is for the VIP Program to officially be up and running sometime in March. And along with that, KCPD will work with researchers from Rutgers University about a geographic approach to crime reduction.
"On February 26th Rutgers University will come in," Rick Smith, Chief of the Kansas City Police Department said. "We will learn about risk terrain modeling. The commanders will have  a four-hour session in the morning and they will meet with crime analysts throughout the department. This is going to look at layering maps and environmental factors in how they determine crime. So it's a geographical approach to crime fighting. It's been used very successfully in some other cities."

Chief Smith says the risk terrain modeling will help police know where to direct their efforts. It will map out things like  convenience stores, lighting, code violation locations and layer them into a report to highlight areas of that are subject to criminal behavior.

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