KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Sarai Gutierrez thought long and hard before moving into her Armourdale Neighborhood. Folks tried to warn her.
“They told us this was a higher crime place and we need to be careful. My father, when he bought the house, he was really big on, 'Let’s cover this house in prayer,'” said Gutierrez.
Those prayers have been answered, so far, according to data from Kansas City Kansas Police Chief Terry Zeigler.
“Yeah, I’m excited. I’m waiting to see our numbers turn around, and I think we’re heading in that direction," Ziegler said.
It’s a direction navigated via a new crime-fighting initiative called Operation I.C.O.N, which stands for Impacting Crime in Our Neighborhoods.
Zeigler said previous crime-fighting tactics just moved crime to other portions of the city. With Operation I.C.O.N. it’s a little different.
“We use our crime data for 30 days, see where our hot spots are at," said Ziegler. "Put those resources in there to address problems.”
Zeigler said the department will also add Special Ops and Tact Squads if necessary.
The initiative was launched in April and targeted two neighborhoods. One is in Midtown, from Georgia to State Avenue, 55th to 65th and Armourdale. The other is near Gutierrez and her prized possessions: her nephews, 2-year-old JoJo and 4-year-old Ezriah.
"They’re out here every single day. He wakes up and goes straight to the door, outside," said Gutierrez.
In just 5 weeks, Operation I.C.O.N. has resulted in DUI arrests, burglar arrests and more. The pro-active policing has also helped recover stolen scrap metal, drugs and guns.
"We believe we interrupted a hold-up. The guys had the masks and the guns in the car," Zeigler said.
In weeks, violent and property crimes have dropped 15 percent in Midtown and 50 percent in Gutierrez’s neighborhood. Much to her delight and her neighbors.
"It’s just always nice to know that you’re safe at home," said Gutierrez.