KANSAS CITY, Mo. - While the homicide rate in Kansas City has decreased, fewer murders are being solved.
According to crime statistics released Thursday, the Kansas City Police Department has had 76 homicide victims so far in 2012, down from 78 homicides at this point in 2011. But only 43 percent of them have been solved this year, as opposed to 47 percent last year.
Michael Watson, executive director of the AdHoc Group Against Crime, said that even with the slight drop in homicides, there is a still a lot of work to be done to make the streets of Kansas City safe.
"With the murders being two down, that's something to not necessarily hang your hat on, but something to look at," he said.
Watson said AdHoc and other organizations are working with the police chief to help reduce the number of homicides and help police solve crimes. He believes the reduction in homicides is connected to the Chief's "Hot Spot" initiative.
In October of 2011, Police Chief Darryl Forte announced the plan to increase patrols in certain volatile areas. He did not identify the specific hot spots, but he said they included four separate areas that account for roughly half of the city’s homicides since 2009.
"With Chief Forte and his hot spots, you're not going to see an immediate affect on murders because the way murders happen," Watson said. "They're just so random, but I do believe it's making a difference."
According to the statistics released Thursday, guns were used in 62 of the 76 homicides so far this year.
Angel Pryor lost her 21-year-old son Daryan in a homicide on August 14 and says solving crimes takes much more than better policing.
"You can't always blame the detectives," Pryor said. "I have to blame the community."
Pryor said the community needs to do a better job reporting tips to the police department.
She said the detectives can not solve crimes without leads from witnesses. Too often, those witnesses remain silent, she added, because they fear they could be the next target.
"If I say something or if this person says something, they don't want to be walking out their door, and they're the next person that their family's on TV trying to figure out who shot and killed them," Pryor said.
Anyone with information on unsolved crimes and call the TIPS hotline at 816-474-TIPS, or 913-474-TIPS. Tipsters can remain anonymous and could be eligible for a cash reward.
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