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Kansas City's homicide rate frustrates anti-violence groups

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Posted at 5:39 PM, Jul 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-03 18:56:46-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The number of homicides in Kansas City, Missouri, is nearing triple digits, and 2020 is on pace to be a record-breaking year.

The highest number of homicides was in 1993 with 153 people killed.

It's a number no community wants to see and especially frustrating for several groups trying to deter crime.

"We kill each other better than anybody," said Pat Clarke, who calls himself a community outreach specialist. "We live for justice but it’s just us killing us."

Clarke said he believes KCPD programs can help solve crimes, such as the one that offers tipsters $25,000 for information leading to an arrest.

"If this is what it takes to change our community or to make us start doing things together, then so be it. But I don’t call this snitching, I call this stopping you before you do it again," Clarke said.

As of Friday, the homicide count in Kansas City, Missouri, stood at 97. There were 30 fewer homicides at the same time in 2019.

"I have lived in Kansas City most of my life and I have never seen anything like this," said India Woods, community research advocate for AdHoc Group Against Crime.

Woods said she would classify 2020 as a year of trauma, with "just so many things building up that here we are."

More than half of the homicide victims and suspects are under the age of 34.

"These kids don’t have nothing to do," Clark said. "I try to get them over here so I can provide them with jobs."

The cancellation of activities meant to keep youth off the streets due to the COVID-19 pandemic may be playing a factor in the spike of crime.

"When there’s so much free time, you’re going to find something to do and if they’re not given positive opportunities and activities this can easily lead someone into a negative path," Woods said.