KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Kansas City police say they now have a new way to fight crime that -- if implemented correctly -- will change the way they do business.
On Wednesday, Mayor Sly James, Police Chief Daryl Forte and Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters-Baker announced the first results of KC NoVA, the Kansas City No Violence Alliance.
KC NoVA focuses on individuals who are central components of large-scale criminal networks. It is being led by Capt. Joe McHale.
This week, undercover SWAT teams conducted a sweep using new intelligence that resulted in the arrests of 17 people, including drug dealers, prostitutes and homicide suspects.
Police said all of the people are connected in an elaborate criminal network.
With the help of Dr. Andrew Fox, a criminology professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, they have compiled intelligence, mapped and analyzed relationships among criminals.
The complicated computerized system identified the ring leaders within the networks.
The theory is if you take out the leader central in these criminal relationships, the entire network can crumble.
James had a message for people already in crime or those thinking about it: "If you are engaged, and we know who you are -- and we do -- ... quit now or get your act together," he said.
Those at the center of the networks will be prosecuted, and those on the periphery will be offered services to help prevent them from becoming involved in more serious crime.
KC NoVA has hired a social worker and plans to hire a faith-based community organizer who will use the network information to try and prevent a new group of criminals from forming.
In Boston, where they have used a similar plan, youth homicides have dropped by 63 percent.