Dr. Ernest Evans Considers Crime Impact On Upcoming Kansas City Elections

Apt analysis from a friend of the blog and a local criminology expert . . . 

Moreover . . .

He's not the only person who tells us that Clay Chastain could get more votes that insiders expect.

Check his latest column . . .

Dr. Ernest Evans: Lori Lightfoot's Defeat: Possible Lessons for Kansas City Mayor's Race

The US has been in the midst of a major crime surge since the last few months of 2019.  In the first six months of 2019 homicides declined 6%--but in the last six months of the year they rose 6%.  In 2020 there was a 30% increase in the number of homicides in the US—the largest one year increase in recorded history.  In 2021 homicides rose an additional 5%; preliminary figures from 2022 indicate that the number of homicides declined slightly—but the totals were still well above what they had been in 2019.

    Since in the US law enforcement is mostly a responsibility of local governments this surge in crime is impacting city elections.  In NYC in 2021 the candidate of the Democratic Party was former police captain Eric Adams, and the Republican Party candidate was Curtis Sliwa—the founder of the anti-crime group The Guardian Angels.  And, in the just completed first round of the mayor's race in Chicago crime was the big issue—incumbent mayor Lori Lightfoot finished third and will not be in the runoff; she was the first incumbent mayor in Chicago not to win re-election since 1983.

    Crime in Chicago surged during Lightfoot's years as mayor.  In 2019, her first year in office, there were 521 homicides in the city—in 2020 there were 798, in 2021 there were 845 and in 2022 there were 737.  Now, as I noted above, crime has been increasing all over ther US since the last few months of 2019 so the surge of violence in Chicago after 2019 cannot be blamed exclusively on Mayor Lightfoot—but the voters of the city felt that she was not up to the job of reducing crime in the city so they turned her out of office.

   This brings us to the upcoming mayor's race in Kansas Cuty, Missouri on April 4, 2023.  The incumbent mayor, Quentin Lucas, promised when he was first elected to soon have the city's homicide numbers down below 100 a year.  He has not been able to keep this promise:  There were 151 homicides in 2019, 179 in 2020, 157 in 2021 and 169 in 2022.

   Now, as is the case in the surge of violence in Chicago in recent years, we are in the midst of a national crime wave and so the high levels of violence in KCMO are not soley Mayor Lucas' fault.  However, when things are not going well the voters tend to vote those in power out of office—regardless of whether they are responsible for the problems that are occurring.  

In the 2023 mayor's election in KCMO Mayor Lucas' opponent is the well-known local public figure Clay Chastain.  The mayor has a big campaign chest and most of the city establishment is behind him;  but the case of Mayor Lightfoot in Chicago shows that Chastain may be able to pull off an upset.  Hold on to your hats!!

You decide . . .