The body count continues to spiral upwards and this critically thinking News Dog, in 27 years of living in the HNE community, hasn’t seen the community’s homicide count this high in that period of time. Roughly 10% of the city’s homicides have taken place in Northeast. That count stands at 17 and last week Northeast was three for three, recording homicides three days in a row, one of which resembled a gangland style killing where the victim was killed inside the car then rolled out of the moving vehicle on to the pavement. Godfather anyone? Witnesses indicate that it’s an image they won’t soon forget. The negative financial impacts are already being felt in the residential real estate and rental market despite the hard fought efforts of the Chamber of Commerce and area neighborhood associations who feel helpless to stop the killings. Unacceptable on any level.
Anyone who follows Northeast social media pages knows the deal all too well. Night after night Facebook posts of shots fired near the Concourse. Shots fired near Van Brunt and Gladstone. Shots fired near Budd Park. Some Scarritt residents spent upwards of four minutes on hold waiting for a Police call taker to answer their call. Such events make the whole 911 system laughable at current staffing levels, reinforcing the old adage, when seconds count, a good cop is minutes away. Again, unacceptable.
The solution in this Dog’s eyes is multi-faceted and involves making the most of limited resources in the police department such as utilizing civilian personnel in the communication center rather than commissioned officers. This frees up much needed money for commissioned officers on the street. Adding more cops on the street won’t immediately address the violent crime uptick. It will, however, allow for pro-active, community based policing to return to the streets of Kansas City’s urban core. Back in 2014 and 2016, East Zone Officers King and Galloway, working proactively on a daily basis put more bad guys back in jail than most anyone on the Department to date. Under the current paradigm, proactive policing is unheard of and District Officers often run call to call for 10 hours straight, eating on the fly, often in route to the next call. This is not called Law Enforcement. This is called Crime Management and does nothing to make neighborhoods safer.
Lastly, having a Prosecutors office that actually prosecutes bad guys and put them away instead of offering them plea deal after plea deal will go far to restore justice to the streets and return an acceptable quality of life to the city’s urban core. The Northeast News vs. Darrel Greenfield issue is a microcosm of the County Prosecutor’s office not using all of the violent crime laws already in place at the state and federal level to put bad people in jail and keep them there. Sadly, unless the paradigm changes in the Prosecutor’s office and the Police Department gets to return to a Law Enforcement paradigm instead of a Crime Management paradigm, the status quo will rule the day.