KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Mayor Quinton Lucas campaigned on the basis of lowering violent crime in the Metro. After a deadly night in Westport boosted the homicide count to 25 for 2020, Lucas said he is frustrated and looking into more options to stop violent crime.
Just before stepping into a standing-room-only budget hearing Saturday morning at the Southeast Community Center, Lucas said the real issue in the city is curbing violence.
“When I see the Westport shooting, I’m incredibly frustrated,” Lucas said.
The recently proposed city budget calls for at least ten new police officers, but Lucas said adding officers is not the only answer. Police were present at both the Westport shooting and a shooting homicide on Friday that happened right in front of the Central Patrol Division, near Linwood Boulevard and Forest Avenue.
“It doesn’t work. It shows what we are coming up with now isn’t working,” Lucas said.
Recent changes to increase security measures in Westport were also unable to stop the homicide early Saturday morning.
“We’ve vacated the sidewalks to come up with a crime fighting strategy,” Lucas said. “We have more law enforcement officers there, and frankly, that is not enough as long as we still have people intent on harming others.”
Lucas’ budget proposes room for social media analysts, social workers and teen violence prevention programs. He also wants to continue to stop possession of firearms among juveniles and domestic violence offenders. He said more homicide arrests need to happen, and they need to happen faster to curb gang retaliations.
“We can have every nice bell and whistle and every great thing, but if you have 150 people murdered each year, its gonna be a city people don’t want to live in, whether they live on the Eastside, Central city, Northland or anywhere. It’s my job to make sure we fix it, and we will.”
Mayor Lucus said the police department is applying for federal grants from the Department of Justice for more resources. He also wants to talk with leaders from other communities who have had success in fighting violent crime using unconventional methods.
The video above is only a portion of the interview with Mayor Lucas. If you want to hear the full conversation, you can find it on FOX4’s Facebook page.