As the first days of 2018 dawn, Kansas City grapples with a 2017 homicide rate that came dangerously close to breaking the 1993 record of 153. During the past 12 months 149 homicides were recorded, up from 131 murders in 2016 and 111 killings in 2015. This critically thinking news-dog thinks it’s about time to do some serious re-tooling to the violent crime prevention methods used here in Kansas City because the status quo is clearly not working.
The dog was asked by a long time LEO earlier in the year if the city would break the 150 murder mark in 2017. Our answer was simple and direct: “As long as KC NoVA remains in place, we’ll hit 150.” Lo and behold the murder spree continued unabated and no surprise, here we are bumping the 150 mark.
When KC’s NoVA project was announced in 2012 we were told by Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters-Baker and the Mayor that tangible results would not be immediate, that it would be a minimum of six months until the city saw any reduction in violent crime numbers. This conservative news-sniffing pooch was highly critical of the program then and we continue to be critical now, almost five years after the program was rolled out. The Mayor’s “blue ribbon” violent crime commission chaired by Mayoral “front-runner” Jolie Justus has been an abject failure in addressing the city’s violent crime effectively, and the upward trending homicide numbers are testament to that.
While certain elements of the NoVA program might be showing some positive results, such as Chief Rick Smith’s appointment of Social Services Coordinator Gina English to the department, this conservative canine thinks a total re-tooling of the initiative is in order, including a tough prosecutorial paradigm that utilizes all of the federal and state statutes already on the books to prosecute bad people and put them in jail for a long time. It’s also time to retire the failed, “we can’t arrest our way out of a problem” mantra and start playing hardball on the streets and in the courtroom. Unless there’s a paradigm change to the above, then look for a violent and record-setting 2018.
For the official rundown of the Kansas City numbers, here’s a link to the cheery news: http://kcmo.gov/police/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2013/10/DailyHomicideAnalysis2017-12-29.pdf
Apparently the folks over at NoVA don’t think too much of what they’re doing either, given their website hasn’t been updated since initial Nova Commander Joe McHale left the department to head the Marion Iowa Police Department in December of 2016. Kansascitynova.org continues to display former PD Chief Darryl Forte as a Board member along with former UMKC Chancellor Leo Morton and US Attorney Tammy Dickinson. For the record, Forte is no longer the top Cop, Morton isn’t Chancellor at UMKC anymore and US Attorney Tammy Dickinson was relieved of her position in March of 2017. Spelling isn’t necessarily their web designer’s long suit either. Regional is not spelled “reagional.” The parallel could easily be drawn that if the attention to detail is grossly lacking in something as simple as a web site, then the alleged work this bunch is doing to make Kansas City safer might just lack the same attention to detail. It’s no surprise that the crime numbers reflect that as well.