Crime dominates conversation in mayor’s status update for KC - KCTV5

Crime dominates conversation in mayor’s status update for KC

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Mayor Sly James is outlining his plans for 2013, and one area he wants the city to work on is cutting down on crime.

Speaking to guests at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church on Sunday, James carried out a 70-year tradition at the church, highlighting what he sees as the city's successes over the past year.

"We've had streets and parks and pipes and transit, and you chose to invest in each and every one of those things since I was here last year," James said.

He also talked education and crime.

Rows of pictures hanging outside the AdHoc Group Against Crime put a face to the last topic, the city's persistent homicide rate.

"The homicide is not a priority to the city, it needs to be. People go on and live their life like nothing happening, it don't hit home until it happens to you," Rosilyn Temple said.

It happened to Temple's family in late 2012. Her son, Antonio Thompson, was murdered in his apartment. The case remains unsolved.

"It hurts me when I see my son's picture up here," Temple said.

She became friends with Helen Frazier through support meetings at AdHoc. Helen's daughter, Essence Willoughby, was killed last November.

"These cases need to be paid attention to and something needs to be done," Frazier said.

James says he agrees, and wants people focusing on violence in Kansas City as much as high-profile crimes across the country.

"The reality is that slow-motion mass murder occurs in this city every day," James said.

The mayor pointed to new Shot Spotter technology that helps police pinpoint where gunshots are coming from, to respond more quickly.

"They were able to chase a suspect leaving the scene of the crime and arrest them. It didn't stop the crime from happening, but it had a quicker and swifter result, and that tells criminals something," James said.

And for those who know first-hand the impact of one of the city's toughest problems, criminals need to hear from the community too.

"We are tired as a community, not just a few people that have lost, but as a community we are tired of this, we want something done," Frazier said.

James also called for stronger youth programming to keep kids out of trouble and more gun control regulations.

He is proposing an ordinance requiring people to report any lost or stolen guns, so that police can track the serial numbers and tie those weapons to other crimes.

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