Sly Gets It: Safer Communities are More Prosperous Communities
There’s no question, Kansas City has become a much safer place to live and work since the early 1990s. Lately, however, our numbers have been moving in the wrong direction.
In 2010, homicides in Kansas City numbered 106, unfortunately almost matching 2009’s 110 homicides. Though our excellent law enforcement community is working hard to address the homicide rate, we have to do more.
This is not a challenge limited to so-called crime “hot spots.” We’ve seen events that make residents and visitors feel unsafe in traditionally safe areas as well. The crime map at http://crime.kansascity.com/ clearly demonstrates that crimes of all types happen throughout our city.
The bottom line is that we need to empower our neighborhoods through sensible community policing efforts and provide cutting edge resources to our police department to prevent crime, not just react to it.
It’s not enough to simply put more officers on the streets. We need a comprehensive approach to dealing with crime throughout the city. Stopping crime in the 21st century requires enhancements in approach, technology, and communications
Sly Gets it Done: Making Kansas City a Safer Place to Live
Sly will work with the law enforcement community on a comprehensive approach to crime reduction by supporting new investment in technology and enhancing existing community policing strategies. There are two parts to taking on the crime problem: stopping it before it happens and responding after it happens.
Sly’s enforcement initiative would provide a comprehensive three-phase approach to crime reduction:
- First, community outreach to at risk youth and adults to facilitate both opportunity and lawful choices;
- Second, enhanced prosecution and sentencing of violent and repeat offenders to contain them and to deter others from engaging in similar criminal conduct; and
- Third, re-entry and re-integration of former felons into the community in a manner that facilitates both opportunity and lawful choices.
Many similar initiatives are funded, in part, by federal grants. However, the effectiveness of a crime reduction policy is not determined entirely by the amount of money spent on it. Instead, it is determined by the innovative and progressive partnerships that are formed to utilize existing resources.
In order to implement his enforcement program, Sly will:
- Adopt best practices that have proven to be successful in other cities. For example, Sly will work with the police department to adopt ideas from the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV).
- Utilize crime data to identify violent areas, groups, and individuals.
- Develop and maintain partnerships between federal, state, and local law enforcement, social service organizations, neighborhood groups, and homeowners associations, community leaders, and faith-based entities to provide outreach services for at-risk youth, adults, and former felons who are attempting to re-enter and re-integrate into the community.
- Provide targeted public outreach through the use of both digital and traditional media to increase community awareness.
- Employ digital and cutting-edge technologies such as CCTV and Shotspotter as a means to increase police presence in high crime areas.
- Increase diversity on the police force.
- Operate in a transparent and accountable manner through the public dissemination of information, the creation of a dedicated public website, and the periodic assessment of the efficacy of the city’s efforts.
The benefits of Sly’s enforcement program include:
- A decrease in homicides and other violent crime rates,
- An increase in satisfaction scores and cooperation between the police department and Kansas City communities, and
- An increase in federal and state funding for prevention and re-entry programs.