There was a time when Northeast had a model Crime Watch program (Northeast Mobile Crime Watch) that was funded by Jackson County COMBAT. That program worked directly with CAN (Community Action Network) and CAT (Community Action Team). Police officers who worked with city codes inspectors proactively in our neighborhoods under the Old Northeast Inc. CDC (Community Development Corporation) umbrella. While Lykins and Independence Plaza were the “target” neighborhoods, this critically thinking News-Dog knows that crime doesn’t observe neighborhood boundaries. Through the Mobile Crime Watch program, citizen patrol volunteers worked hand in glove with KCPD, monitoring and reporting hot spots and forwarding them up the chain for action by various Police squads. Logs were kept on addresses and weekly crime meetings were hosted by ONE Inc. that involved neighborhoods, Codes and PD. It was a comprehensive program that effectively targeted and eradicated crime and problem codes properties, and every neighborhood in Northeast was a beneficiary.
Let this Dog repeat, this was a model that was copied on a national level as an example of how community policing worked successfully and made communities safer.
Sadly, COMBAT pulled its funding and a premier community crime fighting program disappeared along with ONE Inc. and the CAN/CAT funding. Through the years and a number of PD command changes, KCPD continued to voice their “support” for community-oriented policing. Apparently under that model, a blue Crown-Vic rolling through a neighborhood with the windows rolled down was community policing. It was during this period that the police department went from a law enforcement model to a crime management model. More officers were dedicated to reactive policing rather than problem-oriented community policing. Fast forward to today when East Patrol has one officer specifically dedicated to interfacing with community organizations on a daily basis. One. As in singular. The Dog thinks it’s time for a change.
Community Policing, as defined in so many textbooks penned in the mid 1990s, works. The sooner proactive officers are returned to HNE neighborhoods and are allowed to operate free from the burden of the calls for service hierarchy, partnering with neighborhoods, driven by a 180-degree shift in the prosecutorial paradigm and possibly a new-born crime watch organization funded by COMBAT that serves all HNE neighborhoods, the sooner our community will see a decline in homicides, violent crime and crimes that directly impact the quality of life in our neighborhoods.