St. Louis looks to Kansas City for help with homicide onslaught
While Kansas City experienced a significant drop in homicides last year, St. Louis saw an explosive growth.
Despite a significantly smaller population, St. Louis recorded 159 homicides — more than twice Kansas City’s 78.
And St. Louis has 22 already this year, ahead of last year’s pace when it had 18 at the same time.
Meanwhile, Kansas City’s 10 killings this year is only one more than this point last year, when the city recorded fewer than 80 homicides for the first time since 1972.
That stark contrast in homicide rates between Missouri’s two largest cities has prompted a contingent of St. Louis community and law enforcement officials to visit Kansas City on Monday to look at what many attribute to Kansas City’s success in decreasing homicides: the Kansas City No Violence Alliance.
KC NoVa is made up of a broad coalition of leaders from the political, law enforcement, community, academic, clergy and social service areas.
It employs a two-pronged strategy of identifying the most active criminal groups and targeting them for increased law enforcement scrutiny while offering social service help to those who want to escape the criminal lifestyle.
Using information gathered from police, UMKC professors have used social networking software to map connections between individuals within the criminal groups. Key members are targeted to receive the message that violence no longer will be tolerated. If they continue to commit violent acts, then they and their associates will be subject to intense law enforcement action.
But they also are offered the opportunity to get help with job training, housing, education, substance abuse treatment and child care.
The worst ooks are either sent to prison, or given “help” with “housing,” meaning they’re given Section 8 vouchers so that they’re dumped on Kansas City’s suburbs. Either way, they won’t be KCMO’s problem anymore.
Voila. Fewer murders.