Kansas City experiencing troubling trend of violent crime along - KCTV5

Kansas City experiencing troubling trend of violent crime along with rest of nation

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Summertime is almost here, and that generally means an uptick in crime. Across the nation, violent crime is already on the rise, and Kansas City is right in the middle of it. (KCTV5) Summertime is almost here, and that generally means an uptick in crime. Across the nation, violent crime is already on the rise, and Kansas City is right in the middle of it. (KCTV5)
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Summertime is almost here, and that generally means an uptick in crime.

Across the nation, violent crime is already on the rise, and Kansas City is right in the middle of it.

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker says the increase in homicides is likely happening for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is something that happened across the state of Missouri three years ago.

In 2014, there were 82 homicides in Kansas City. In 2015, there were 111 homicides, and in 2016 there were 129 homicides.

So far this year, Kansas City is already ahead of where it was this time last year.

“It's devastating,” Baker said.

Kansas City is experiencing the troubling trend along with the rest of the nation.

The murder rate has spiked in several cities since 2014, and prosecutors point to a single event that may have started it -- Ferguson, MO.

“When you have unrest in communities, violence rates will be higher,” Baker said.

She says when the delicate relationship between police and the community is questioned, things change - not just where the original scene played out but everywhere.

As bad as it may seem now, over time, homicide rates in Kansas City are still down from where they once were. Kansas City saw a big jump in homicides in the mid-1990s.

It happened across the country at that time as well. The timing matched with the Rodney King incident. King was beaten by police officers in Los Angeles, a horrific incident caught on camera with riots that followed and a call for policing the police that continues to this day.

KCTV5 News asked prosecutors if the 90s crime spike was from the King incident and the current one from Ferguson. Can we tame it? And if so, how?

“This i a complicated problem, and it takes cooperation, collaboration and partnerships not just a police problem ... community and it's a metro-wide problem,” Baker said.

For starters, Baker says speak up.

“You can't live in a community where any sort of anti-snitching is professed,” Baker said.

She says anti-snitching leads to higher rates of violence.

"A healthy community works with police. They don't stand by and allow violence to occur in any neighborhood without coming forward and telling what they know," Baker said.

Community support is critical as well. People should be able to talk freely.

One of the newly released Violence Task Force recommendations is to build a community resource center set up not in the soft spots of Kansas City but where crime hits hard every day.

"You know the neighbors, they know better than anyone what the hotspot is on their block what house is causing problems. What issues they're seeing? At a community action center, there could be a place to report those things and have them addressed,” said Deidre Anderson with United Inner City Services.

Prosecutors say the more relaxed laws concerning carrying a gun in the state of Missouri haven't helped matters.

Despite it all, Baker says she is confident this too shall pass, and that as a city, we will rise above what's wrong in favor what is right for everyone.

"I think we're in for a hard summer, but I absolutely do believe these are temporary trends,” she said.

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