KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City is on track for its lowest annual homicide rate in more than 40 years, and the police chief says that while he’s pleased with the progress, the death count is still too high.
There have been 34 homicides in the first six months of this year — that’s down 31 percent from last year, according to The Kansas City Star. Police say the city, which usually records more than 100 killings each year, is on pace for its lowest annual homicide total since 1967.
“I’m satisfied that we’re making progress,” said Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forté. “I’m not satisfied at where we are. Thirty-four senseless deaths is still way too high.”
In Kansas City, Kansas, the 16 slayings this year match the number of homicides at this point last year.
The drop in Kansas City, Missouri, follows sweeping reorganization within the department and new community efforts to deter violence, such as last year’s launch of the Kansas City No Violence Alliance. The group is a partnership between local and federal organizations, including the mayor’s office, probation and parole officials, and the mothers of homicide victims.
The city’s alliance seeks to identify and target the people responsible for most of the violent crimes. The organization also offers social services to those involved in a criminal group who want a way out of that life. About 100 people so far are receiving services that include anger management counseling, job training and placement help, housing, and transportation.
But officials are hesitant to attribute the city’s dip in homicides to the alliance’s work.
Spokesman Mike Mansur of the Jackson County prosecutor’s office says they want to see where the homicide total stands by year’s end.
“Then we might be able to think it’s related to what we are doing,” he said.
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