Task force aimed to identify businesses with high number of violent incidents in KCMO

Task force aimed to identify businesses with high number of violent incidents in KCMO
Published: Aug. 15, 2023 at 7:27 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 15, 2023 at 1:14 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - A Kansas City task force aimed to identify businesses, establishments, or properties with a high number of violent incidents and emergency calls is meeting Tuesday morning.

The mayor’s office says they will discuss the framework for this Multidisciplinary Public Safety Task Force that was established after the city council passed an ordinance in July.

Mayor Quinton Lucas, Mayor Pro Tem Ryana Parks-Shaw, and Director of Public Safety Melesa Johnson will be at the Fast Stop on East 10th Street to talk about steps moving forward with it.

They are looking into those businesses or properties like you said that have a high number of violent incidents, 311 complaints, and emergency calls. They want to engage with business owners to find improvements focusing on identifying factors like lighting, trash and illegal dumping, graffiti, and any business violations.

Kansas City Police Department Captain Jonas Baughman said the process is using the Risk Training Model that looks at the area they are inspected rather than a person or persons.

“With that final list of risk factors available, our task force and our partners can readily identify the group or groups best suited to address them. This allows everyone to shoulder the burden of making our city safer and more secure,” he said.

The mayor’s office reminds us they requested to revoke the business license and close businesses operating as unlicensed clubs on prospect avenue last month following the mass shooting at the Klymax Lounge. Three people died, nine more were injured, and many more were impacted that night.

“Unfortunately, we know that in Kansas City, we are seeing unprecedented numbers, historical numbers, of homicides in our city, but rest assured that we are working. It’s going to take all of us,” said Parks-Shaw.

The task force had its first site visit last week at the Express Stop on East 10th Street. There was a murder there in late June, 59 calls for service, and 14 police reports filed in the past year at that site alone. City staff inspected the conditions of the business and identified some of those factors like overgrown weeds, trash, and graffiti there.

They met with the owner of the Express Stop who wants to make the changes to stay in business, and keep the area safe.

“He is collaborative, he is interested in receiving our help and I’m looking forward to working with him more and any other business owners that may feel like they are up against a very, very high task in keeping their establishment safe,” said Johnson. “But make no mistake they do still have that responsibility to all of their patrons and the residents of Kansas City.”

Leaders said this initiative is different than years past as the dozen of people there have been working hard to solve this issue, but have been working separately -- this brings them all together.

“We’re making sure that one hand knows what the other is doing. The other thing that makes a difference is that we are investing, not just substantial sums but substantial hours to making sure we have this collaboration,” said Lucas.

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