Kansas City leaders make public plea to curb crime after violent Memorial Day weekend

Published: May. 31, 2023 at 4:00 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said the city is facing an epidemic of gun violence and violent crime that escalated during a violent and deadly Memorial Day weekend.

Kansas City Missouri Police Chief Stacey Graves made a call to action for Kansas City residents to speak up and stop solving conflicts with guns.

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Since Sunday, Kansas City police responded to seven homicides in 72 hours. Mayor Lucas said city leaders are united in trying to focus on prevention, intervention, and enforcement to try to combat violence in Kansas City.

The violent weekend began with a homicide that hit far too close to home for Pat Clarke. “A friend of mine was murdered early Sunday morning,” Pat Clarke said. “People don’t understand what it feels like until they are there.”

More than 70 families have lost a loved one to homicide during the first five months of this year in Kansas City including seven homicides in just 72 hours. “Seven families in our city have been changed forever,” Chief Graves said. “This is a call for action. Our department will continue to show up, but we need the community’s help.”

Multidisciplinary teams of prosecutors, police and community members are going to the homes of individuals who are known to be involved in violent crimes in the community to conduct what are called “custom notifications.” The teams inform those community members there are other paths to take instead of resorting to violence.

“We let people know why they’re on our radar, that we didn’t come to anybody’s home by mistake,” Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said.

In some circumstances the teams offer resources. In others, they pursue arrest and prosecution if there is evidence that a violent crime was committed.

“We remind them that there will be consequences. There’ll be consequences if the shooting doesn’t stop immediately,” Peters Baker said. “Beyond telling them that we want the violence to stop, we also tell them this we need you. We need you alive. We need you out of prison, and we want you to succeed.”

According to Chief Graves, officers have executed search warrants and made investigative arrests in several of Kansas City’s most recent homicides.

“We recognize that I’ve now talked about for four years that this city faces an epidemic of gun violence and violent crime,” Lucas said. “We will continue to address it and we will continue to fight it each and every day.”

Kansas City police are asking anyone with information about a Kansas City homicide to anonymously call 816-474-TIPS. There is up to a $25,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest.

Kansas City and the state of Missouri both offer resources for witness relocation assistance. Anyone needing resources from the city’s relocation fund can visit or contact the Kansas City Missouri Health Department Office of Violence Prevention by calling (816) 513-6310. To date, four individuals have requested relocation assistance in Kansas City. Three have been completed and one is in progress. There is still more than $200,000 available for relocations.

Kansas City police and city leaders are hosting a block party and resource fair this Friday from 5-8 p.m. near 34th Street and Prospect Avenue.

Another block party will be held in south KC near the Ruskin Heights neighborhood at Sycamore Park on Saturday, June 10th from 12-3 p.m.

“We are not giving up,” Peters Baker said.

ALSO READ: Deadly shooting in Kansas City makes for 73 homicides this year