Saturday, June 08, 2019
TKC EXCLUSIVE MUST READ!!! CRIME EXPERT SHARES PLAN TO LOWER HOMICIDE COUNT IN KANSAS CITY!!!
One of the foremost experts on crime trends and community impact of rising violence shares a bevy of data, insight and analysis on the KCMO crime crisis. Accordingly, his perspective MUST be a part of the silly season discussion and the campaign for mayor.
Here's the word . . .
Dr. Ernest Evans: How to Lower the Homicide Rate in Kansas City
That great student of politics, Henry Kissinger, coined many aphorisms about politics, but one of his best was when he said: "All of the facts are true, but not all of the facts are relevant." This aphorism is true for many aspects of politics, including the issue of keeping crime under control.
When crime begins to surge in a given city the authorities look at a range of facts to explain this surge. They note the level of poverty, the rate of unemployment, the access to guns, etc. But perhaps the single most important statistic to look at when a city is having a crime surge is the clearance rate; i. e., how many of the homicides in the city are being solved?
Among crime experts it has long been an established principle that likelihood of punishment is more important in deterring crime that severity of punishment. So, if a city wants to keep homicides under control it needs to have a high rate of clearing homicides. For example, former Washington/DC Chief Cathy Lanier justly received a lot of praise for her success in sharply reducing the homicide rate in DC when she was chief in 2007-2016. A key component of her success was that in the years that she was chief clearance rates were between 80 and 90%. In contrast, the city in the world that has the highest homicide rate is San Pedro Sula in Honduras--in that city there is only a 3% clearance rate for homicides.
The crime surge in Chicago that began in early 2016 is a good illustration of how declining clearance rates can fuel a crime sure. In 2014 the city of Chicago had a 34% clearance rate--in that year it had 464 homicides. Then, in the latter months of 2014 you had the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri and the Laquan McDonald shooting in Chicago--these incidents touched off a wave of criticism of police departments all over America.
The storm of criticism against the police had a lot of justification. The US criminal justice system is badly flawed and biased and in need of major reforms. However, much of the criticism was over-the-top and sensationalistic. Faced with this barrage of criticism applications to police departments fell sharply and veteran officers began to leave. By the end of 2015 every police department in the US was significantly under strength.
When a police force is under strength and de-moralized the clearance rate begins to go down. By 2016 the clearance rate in Chicago was 19%--and there were 808 homicides in the city that year. And, Chicago may be facing an ever more serious crime surge in 2019. Homicides in the city fell in 2017 and 2018, But starting in March 2019 there has been a major new surge of violence--and, not coincidentally, the clearance rate in Chicago is now 8.6%
That brings us to the current crime situation in Kansas City, Missouri. In 2014 it seemed that the city had made major advances in fighting crime. There were 82 homicides in that calendar year--one of the lowest levels in the past fifty years.
However, the Brown and McDonald shootings in 2014 also had an impact on personnel levels in the KCPD. At the end of calendar year 2013 there were 1436 officers on duty in the KCPD--at the end of calendar year 2018 there were 1250. As a number of veteran cops from all over the metro have put it to me: "Doc, nobody wants to be a cop anymore."
This decline in personnel in the KCPD led to a decline in clearances. In 2014 the clearance rate was 70%--in 2015 it was 51%, in 2016 it was 50%, in 2017 it was 49%, in 2018 it was 48%--and so far in 2019 it is 40% With the clearance rate falling homicides went up: In 2015 there were 109 homicides, in 2016 there were 130, in 2017 there were 151 and in 2018 there were 137. So far in 2019 there have been 57 homicides--compared to 51 at this point in 2018 and 61 in 2017. (The all time high for homicides in the city was 1993 with 153 homicides.)
KCMO will soon elect a new mayor, and a critical issue that he or she must address is the surge in violence in KCMO since 2014. And, bringing that violence under control necessitates bringing the KCPD up to its proper strength of 1500 officers.
Developing . . .