KANSAS CITY, Mo. —Leaders of Kansas City’s No Violence Alliance said federal statistics indicate it may be more dangerous to be a criminal on Kansas City’s streets than to be fighting in a war zone.
NoVA said there are 317 deaths per 100,000 troops in the war zones. According to the Uniform Crime Statistics report, Kansas City’s criminal groups record 550 deaths per 100,000 people.
“It is a very scary number,” said Kansas City police Capt. Chris Young, a member of the NoVA team, which includes law enforcement officers, prosecutors and community leaders.
NoVA’s goal is to deter violence among Kansas City’s most hardened criminal groups, but they said it includes more than just street gangs.
“Some of them are known as particular gangs, or at least that’s what they call themselves,” said Young. “Some are just associations of young men and some young women who hand out together.”
Last year, the city’s murder rate hit triple digits again. NoVA leaders blame the number on a surge in domestic violence cases and believe the focus on the criminal groups is correct.
Kansas City Councilwoman Alissia Canady, a former prosecutor, said she hopes NoVA will stay focused on the criminal groups.
“What I am happy about is that KC NoVA has not followed mission creep and re-diverted the focus or their efforts or mission statement to address these other areas,” Canady said.
Despite NoVA’s crackdown, leaders think more than half of the violent crime in the city may be the work of these criminal groups NoVA has been going after for three years.
NoVA estimates that it’s tracking about 30 criminal groups in the city at any given time.