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Kansas City promoting victim, witness relocation fund to help solve crimes

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Posted at 9:52 PM, Jun 01, 2023

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Police say it’s not often people are jumping at the opportunity to come forward after witnessing a crime.

That’s why there’s been a recent push for victim and witness relocation.

The state of Missouri has put $2 million toward its victim and witness relocation program, which police departments have sole access to, but only $14,000 dollars were used.

A program efforted by the City of Kansas City, Missouri, is hoping to bridge the gap.

“We need the community’s help,” KCPD Chief of Police Stacy Graves said.

On Wednesday, KCMO city leaders asked people to not give up, but to get involved and know that more solutions to solve violent crime were to come.

“Tomorrow at 5 p.m., at 35th and Prospect, come — we’re talking, eating, fellowship and trying to figure out how to stop this crime,” KCPD Det. Kari Thompson said.

Thompson is joining other community partners from all angles to try and get people together.

“Can we talk about this violence going on in KC?” Thompson said. “Oh you don’t know anything about it? About these Black men dying."

Community members say another way to combat it is by coming forward and helping police solve crimes.

“Put yourself in the shoes of these victims’ families and what you would want someone to do for your loved one,” Graves said.

Police say that doesn’t happen enough.

“It’s witness and victims intimidation, people don’t want to cooperate with police in fear of retributions or retaliation,” said Melesa Johnson, director of Public Safety for KCMO.

Johnson says the city realized they couldn’t ask the community to do their part without doing theirs.

She helped create a safety net and protection for people to relocate temporarily or permanently — a $250,0000 fund that isn’t managed by the state or police officers.

“The harsh reality is there are a number of clients who won’t accept help from KCPD officers,” Johnson said.

She says people are using the fund; $50,000 was already spent, whether it be money to change locks or to move.

“That could be out of state or in state,” Johnson said.

For help with the victim and witness program, people can call the KCPD Office of Violence Prevention at (816) 513-6310.