KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) – Kansas City prepares for a presidential visit. This time, the focus is on crime and what can be done to stop it.
It's clearly an issue in our community.
The Westin Hotel is preparing for logistics of hosting the president Friday.
Meanwhile, the law enforcement and prosecutors who will be in Kansas City for Trump’s speech Friday, are speculating on what he might have to say.
An empty hotel conference room will be packed Friday with men and women from across the country working to combat a national rise in violent crime.
“A lot of this frankly is driven by gangs,” said Stephen McCallister, U.S. Attorney District of Kansas.
Kansas US Attorney Stephen McCallister, says the program the president is supposed to address Friday, Project Safe Neighborhoods, is already netting more prosecutions of repeat violent offenders.
“The premise of the program is that it’s a very small percentage, it might be half a percent or 1%, 5% of the of the actors in the location that are really causing an engaging violent crime, so the goal is to take that’s all percentage out of the community,” voiced McCallister.
He’s hopeful President Trump will address the successes of the program so far and announce the efforts that will be expanded.
McCallister says violent crime per capita in both Kansas City, Kansas and Wichita is still higher than the national average.
The nonprofit AdHoc group against crime is happy the president will be in Kansas City addressing violent crime, but they hope he realized it takes more than law enforcement to combat it.
“Absolutely have to look at how we’re investing in community organizations, health organizations. Things like that. Looking at prevention, not just investing in law-enforcement because I can’t arrest our way out of this,” expressed Damon Daniel, AdHoc Group Against Crime President.
So far this year there have been 120 homicides in Kansas City alone.
AdHoc President Damon Daniel says poverty, mental health, lack of access to healthcare and education, and easy access to guns are big reasons that number is so high.
“It’s not just one thing that you can point to. It’s not just gang violence,” proclaimed Daniel.
Keeping neighborhoods safe is about more than just policing.
“We need the community groups, we need the NGO’s we need the local politician, people could buy and support these efforts,” said Daniel.
Both McCallister and Daniels hope the president vows to support all efforts to reduce violent crime.
This project safe neighborhoods program the president is supposed to address Friday, is something started in George W Bush’s Administration and brought back to life by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions.