Board of Police Commissioners assess 2016 violence in KCMO

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A frank discussion took place Tuesday at KCPD headquarters among top brass and city leaders looking back on the violent year that was 2016.

The increase in murders was used as a backdrop in a year that also saw the number of drive-by shootings skyrocket.

In 2016, there were 389 drive-bys compared to 257 in 2015, according to statistics 41 Action News obtained. In total there were 950 drive-by shooting victims in 2016, 11 of them died of their injuries.

"It's such an easy way to commit a crime," Deputy Chief Cheryl Rose, with KCPD's investigations bureau said.

RELATED | Kansas City families remember loved ones lost to violence in 2016

The blame is placed on the number of guns on the street.

"I don't care how you slice it or dice it when you look at places where there are fewer guns on the streets, there are fewer homicides and we need to come to grips with it. You could say whatever you want but having all the police in the world when you got everybody else armed isn't going to make a difference," KCMO Mayor Sly James said.

Law enforcement said recent changes in Missouri law regarding concealed carry hasn't helped. Moving forward, KCPD plans to enhance their intelligence efforts.

"We're really going to focus on, 'are we getting the right people?' and targeting that," Deputy Rose said.

The mayor said collaboration is key as well.

"How do we get everyone on the same page on the same issues so we're pushing the ball up the same hill and that doesn't always happen, that's a process that's coming more and more into vogue internally and I think it's working and it will get better over time," James said.

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Andres Gutierrez can be reached at andres.gutierrez@kshb.com

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