KANSAS CITY, Mo. - While Kansas City continues to mourn for the increasing number of people murdered in 2016, KCPD says in a report posted December 23 that its anti-violence initiative did some good work.
In 2013, KCPD started the Kansas City No Violence Alliance, or NoVA, to cut down on gang or group-related violent crimes.
The next year, the murder rate was the lowest in decades. However, over the last few years the number rose.
Kansas City is now sitting at 124 murders, the highest since 1998.
The problem is obvious: people in poverty using guns and violence as the answer to their problems.
KCPD says the increasing violence is alarming, but some aspects of NoVA have been successful.
Numbers show a 10 percent reduction in gang violence since NoVA started in 2013 - a sign to KCPD that their initial goal of decreasing group violence is working. NoVA intelligence identified 60 gangs or criminal groups.
KCPD says individuals are responsible for the majority of crime, so NoVA is switching its efforts to more community outreach.
NoVA is now aiming to stop violence before it happens by sending officers to at-risk neighborhoods and keeping a closer eye on people they identify as "close to violence," and offering a way out.
Officers have made hundreds of referrals to social services aimed at combating poverty, such as mental health programs and anger management programs.
Since NoVA's inception, officers have taken 1,235 guns, 4,790 grams of narcotics and $10,463 in criminal proceeds.
KCPD says, overall, NoVA's strategies are still developing, and the program's effectiveness is still unknown right now.