KANSAS CITY, Mo. - After the triple shooting on the Plaza Saturday night, City Council members are now trading ideas for preventing future mayhem.
Much of the talk so far has been about a tougher curfew and that may very well go through this week.
But it may not be a slam dunk, and council members plan to debate several other ideas as well, all in an attempt to prevent any repeats of Saturday's violence on the Plaza.
The first thing may be setting an earlier curfew, at 9 p.m. each night, and raising the fine.
"I think the fine for the curfew violation should reflect today's values, and should be enough to make people think about what they're doing in advance," said Mayor Sly James.
But Councilman John Sharp said a crackdown on guns would be better than a curfew.
"We've had a curfew for some years and it hasn't been enforced," said Sharp, who chairs the Public Safety Committee.
He wants more searches for weapons.
"I know there are constitutional protections where you can't frisk everybody. But certainly if there are reasons to suspect that, I think we could be more aggressive about trying to track this down," said Sharp.
The full City Council gathered in chambers Monday to deal with a zoning dispute, not the Plaza violence.
But everyone's thinking about kids, crowds and crime.
"I tend to go towards trying to have activities that keep kids busy and productive activities," said Jim Glover, a KCMO councilman representing the Plaza area.
Councilman Jermaine Reed reaches for a solution that may be on the books already.
He wants to pull out recommendations issued by a violent crime task force five years ago, rather than studying the issue again.
"...making sure that next summer, we're not at the same point and talking about - here our kids are again, roaming the streets, crime is continuing to be rampant, and what are we gonna do," said Reed.
One recommendation from the 2006 report calls for creating a youth district with shops and entertainment for teens so they would have a place of their own to hang out.
The following is the exact text from a letter James sent Monday to community leaders:
“As many of you are aware, Kansas City has joined an unfortunate, but growing, list of cities throughout the world that are forced to deal with large congregations of young people and violence associated with those gatherings. This past weekend, three young people, ages 13, 15, and 16, were shot on the Plaza inside a mob of hundreds.
I would like to pass along an update on the three injured young people. All three are stable, which is very good news.
While we may not be able to stop shootings like the one last weekend, understand that this situation cannot stand. We were looking for a reasonable solution to this issue prior to Saturday’s events and will continue to work this week ahead of City Council session on Thursday with the police, the council, the courts and the 14 school districts in Kansas City to determine a path forward that helps keeps kids safe not only on the Plaza but throughout our city.
The purpose of this letter is to ask for your advice and input as we seek to keep our young people safe and reduce crime in our city. It is also to advise you that it is a distinct possibility, after extensive discussions, the City of Kansas City will implement a 9 p.m. city-wide curfew beginning as soon as Friday, August 19, 2011. I understand you may be effected by this potential change and wish to give you as much lead time as possible to ensure success should Kansas City, its police and public safety officials determine a curfew change is necessary.
Reducing crime in our neighborhoods and keeping our children safe will require a coordinate effort. It cannot just be the city, or the police department, or churches, or schools; rather it must be all of the above and more. Whatever the solution is, I know it begins and ends at home. Parents are the first and best option to monitor their children and keep them safe. “
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The wintry weather made for dangerous conditions on the roads causing several accidents and multiple car pile-ups across the metro.