The violent crime rate in the Northeast has been sliced by more than half over the past two months, according to Kansas City Police Department (KCPD) statistics.
Internal KCPD figures show that the Northeast has seen a 55% decrease in violent crime since January 31, when the KC No Violence Alliance (NoVA) board voted to allocate additional resources to the area. The board’s decision led to the formation of the Northeast Violent Crime Reduction Initiative, a task force comprised of more than two dozen dedicated KC NoVA personnel.
The crime reduction initiative has also paid dividends in other ways, according to a lightly redacted KCPD document made available to the Northeast News. A pair of meth suppliers have been shut down; an individual with gang affiliations has been tied to a weapons violation; and two stolen auto arrests have been connected to a crew based out of the Northeast.
What’s more, the targeted enforcement has led to three homicide arrests, 135 City arrests, 76 State arrests, seven Federal arrests, 60 investigative arrests, two individuals questioned in connection to a homicide, and 25 citations.
A small arsenal of weapons have all been recovered. The list includes a 9MM Roger, an AR-15, a Taurus 9MM, an FEG 9MM, an S&W 9MM, a Springfield SD-9, two Glock 40’s, a Glock 45, a Glock 22, a Revolver 32, a Smith and Wesson 40 Cal, and a SMMY 9MM. In total, 141 rounds of ammunition have been seized.
“These guns that are being recovered are being taken from people who aren’t supposed to be in possession of guns,” said Major Jim Thomas of East Patrol.
Three additional stolen guns have also been recovered, along with 67 stolen credit cards and 20 stolen automobiles. A large quantity of illegal drugs have been removed from the streets as well. That includes .87 grams of crack, 9.67 grams of cocaine, 16.72 grams of meth, 1.61 grams of heroin, 207.84 grams of marijuana and 1,352.27 grams of the synthetic drug khat.
“This has been about two months worth of work,” said Thomas.
Thomas made a request for the extra NoVA attention after seeing an alarming criminal uptick in the previous calendar year.
“We had seen a significant increase in crime from 2016 to 2017,” Thomas said. “I was mainly focused on aggravated assaults, robberies, and homicides.”
For months, the police department has been engaging with Northeast residents on the subject of violent crime. On March 10, KC NoVA organized a community canvass in the Historic Northeast, gathering volunteers at Northeast Middle School beforehand. Dozens of community members partnered with police officers and prosecutors from KC NoVA to knock on doors in parts of the community that have been victimized by violent crime.
East Patrol Captain Ryan Mills shared results from the canvassing event, courtesy of KC NoVA, with the Northeast News last week. In total, roughly 75 people participated in the canvassing event, with community partners including the police department, the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office, Titan Security, the Mattie Rhodes Center, and volunteers from each of the Northeast neighborhood associations.
Approximately 470 homes were canvassed throughout the area, leading to 163 individual contacts and the identification of 43 vacant homes. Of those contacted, 113 individuals passed along information or concerns related to criminal elements or the need for additional city services in their community. The canvassing was conducted in areas directly targeted by the Northeast Violent Crime Reduction Initiative.
The targeted enforcement effort in the Northeast reflects a shift in resource allocation strategy for KC NoVA during the tenure of Chief of Police Rick Smith, who took over the department in August of 2017. Since then, Smith has resolved to utilize the NoVA partnership as a battering ram of sorts against high-priority violent crime elements in the city. South Kansas City was the first area of the city targeted with a crime reduction initiative, and the Historic Northeast now follows.
After that March 10 canvassing event, KC NoVA detective Von Burns spoke to the Northeast News about the renewed enforcement efforts being undertaken in the Northeast.
“We watch the crime statistics, and we monitor all that,” said Burns. “When we have an uptick in a certain area, we’re going to go in and address that with our services to try to make the citizens that live in those communities happy.”