KCMO councilmembers discuss uptick in crime, strategies to curb violence in 2018

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — With 150 homicides recorded, 2017 was the deadliest year for Kansas City since 1993.

KCPD broke down 2017's crime statistics at Wednesday's Neighborhoods and Public Safety Committee meeting.

Overall violent and property crimes were up from the previous year. The figures served as a springboard to talk about the efforts underway to curb crime this year.

"There will be a social worker assigned to every single station in the city," Captain Doug Niemeier with KCPD told the committee.

The police department is also adding another community interaction officer to each patrol division. Besides that, KCPD Chief Rick Smith is hosting weekly meetings with every patrol commander.

"This is an opportunity for that division commander to say 'these are the issues in my division and this is what I'm doing to solve these problems and this is what I need from other parts of the department to help me solve my problems,'" Captain Niemeier said.

Meanwhile, violence is also getting tackled as a public health issue.

"There are a lot initiatives going on within the city already so it's really a matter of coordinating and strengthening those efforts," Cynthia Jaramillo-Carlson with the KCMO health department said.

That's where Kamisha Stanton comes in, as KCMO's violence program coordinator, the south Kansas City native serves as a conduit between the city's efforts and the community.

"The moment I'm in these meetings and I talk with someone who says 'we're focusing on baseball but we have boys that we know want to be engineers,' I can personally connect with them and say 'well this organization does that' so I'm consistently personally doing connections for resources while I'm there," Stanton explained to the committee.

"We spend a lot of time and money and resources on prevention and intervention strategies but we've got to make sure that we are communicating what those efforts are to residents so they are aware and so they can begin to be a part of those activities as well," KCMO Councilmember Alissia Canady told 41 Action News.

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