File Photo, The Northeast News

By Abby Hoover

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker and Police Chief Stacey Graves announced Friday the award of a new two-year $500,000 federal grant focused on reducing and solving non-fatal shootings in Kansas City.

The City of Kansas City, the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office and the Kansas City Police Department (KCPD) collaborated earlier this year to write this grant and propose some new initiatives to address high rates of non-fatal shootings. The agencies submitted a grant to the Bureau of Justice Assistance. Only a handful of cities were awarded grants, which required that the city participated in a federal program known as the Public Safety Partnership.

“This is the same type of collaboration that once reduced our violence levels to historic lows,” said Jean Peters Baker, Jackson County prosecutor. “These funds will be a foundation for a new partnership to address the too-high violence in our community.”

KCUR recently reported that since 2015, non-fatal shootings have grown by nearly 30%, from 414 that year to 537 in 2022, according to KCPD data. The number spiked during the pandemic in 2020 when 630 people were shot but not killed. As of September 10, there are 355 of what KCPD calls “living victims” this year.

“We are thankful for the award of this grant and very encouraged by the great example of partnership in this process,” KCPD Chief Stacey Graves said. “Kansas City is safer, and those that commit violent crime are more likely to be held accountable when we all work together.”

The grant proposed an “Assault-Team” or “A-Team” to improve non-fatal shooting investigations and clearance rates. Recently, non-fatal shootings have dipped slightly but each year more than 500 individuals are victims of shootings in Kansas City.