Top KC leaders working on new plan to fight violent crime focused on prevention, intervention

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City’s homicide rate continues to climb. As of Friday evening, there were 143 murders in the city.

While trying to chase down the people terrorizing the streets, city leaders are also crafting a new plan to reduce violent crime. People in Kansas City are tired of being scared, worn out by tragedy and wondering when it’s going to stop.

“Yeah, I’m not real sure what to think about that. We’re still processing that,” said Joel Franklin, who heard a man get shot and killed overnight Thursday.

Jose Becerra found out Thursday morning that his niece, Daisy Martinez, was shot and killed on Southwest Boulevard late Wednesday night.

“She was innocent. That didn’t have to happen to her,” he said.

Penny Strassle doesn’t know how she’ll recover after her grandson, Anthony Strassle, was shot and killed Wednesday morning while riding in a car with his dad on Truman Road.

“When is enough enough? There’s so much hatred, and it’s senseless,” she said.

People in three different parts of Kansas City, all suffering from the increasing violence in a city on track to hit record violent crime numbers.

On Wednesday, Mayor Quinton Lucas told FOX4 about a secret meeting between him, KCPD Police Chief Rick Smith and Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker. The three discussed new ways to combat violent crime plaguing the city. On Friday, the mayor revealed more about that meeting.

“We’ve been working for some time on looking at a long-term public safety partnership with our partners and friends and the Department of Justice, who’ve worked very collaboratively, including on the prevention and intervention side. It is not just an enforcement game,” Lucas said.

The Department of Justice program is the National Public Safety Partnership, or PSP. It was created as a response to President Donald Trump’s executive order for a task force on crime reduction and public safety.

It’s an opportunity for cities to receive training, technical assistance and other resources from the federal government to enhance violence-reduction strategies, including community engagement.

“Right now the public has, I think, some concerns, very fairly, on our prevention issues and crime,” Lucas said. “Our Citizen Satisfaction Survey has been in the mid 20’s as a percentage. We need to be in the mid 50s. I think these are the types of steps we need to take to go forward.”

Department of Justice technical advisors have been in Kansas City to help craft the new crime reduction strategy.

The three city leaders at the core of this effort are also working with other city departments, including the Health Department as well as multiple community organizations, to craft a plan specifically targeting the unique issues facing Kansas City.

“Those are the sorts of consistencies that I think we’re trying to get in the creation of a new program,” Lucas said. “We’ll have more about it. It’s not complete yet, but we’ll have more work ahead for them.”

When everything is set, a detailed plan will be released to the public. FOX4 will stay on top of this important issue.

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