KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Violent crime is getting expensive.
Kansas City leaders hope to spend $30 million over the next five years, earmarked as support for violence prevention programs. Most of the money comes from city surplus finds, and would support anti-violence efforts in Kansas City.
On Wednesday, an ordinance to fuel that crime-curbing effort was approved by a city council committee. Ryana Parks-Shaw, 5th District Councilmember, has been a supporter of committing to this program geared toward finding solutions.
“It is my fear that if we do this in one-year increments, some other priority will come up and we’ll end up funding only one year,” Parks-Shaw told the committee.
Crime analysts from Park University and the University of Missouri-Kansas City presented crime studies that include financial totals and projections, which show each murder can cost the city as much as $8 million.
Some of the funding for this will come from taxes on recreational marijuana, which became legal in Missouri about a month ago.
A number of community anti-violence advocates encouraged city leaders to sign off on this investment, including Reginald Silvers.
As union leader for the city’s employees, he said his union members often live where the worst violence happens, and decision-makers may not understand. So far in 2023, Kansas City has seen 23 murder scenes.
“They don’t feel the impact that goes on in this city. I’ll stand face-to-face with any one of them if they want to go back-and-forth about the impact that it really has on this city,” Silvers said.
“We have the opportunity to have the funding to drive this work that will positively impact my community and this city as a whole. I encourage you to support this ordinance,” Travanna Alexander-Toney, a psychologist who works with the Violence Free KC Committee.
Councilmember Katheryn Shields was one of two votes against making this move during Wednesday’s committee meeting, saying $30 million is too much money to commit to one single project at this time.
Now that it’s passed the committee, the final decision goes to the full council on Thursday.