Kansas City’s homicide rate so far in 2017 is nearly a third higher than last year — and that was one of the deadliest in Kansas City’s recent history.
Kansas City’s streak of consecutive days with a homicide continued early Sunday when officers found a man shot to death on Prospect Avenue. Police on Sunday were investigating the sixth homicide in five days.
Both the heads of the Ad Hoc Group Against Crime and KC Mothers in Charge, two organizations devoted to reducing violence, were answering their organizations’ respective hotlines personally on Sunday afternoon.
“It’s getting worse,” said Rosilyn Temple, executive director of KC Mothers in Charge. “It keeps getting overlooked, unaddressed.”
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“This issue of violence is such a complex issue,” said Damon Daniel, president of the Ad Hoc Group Against Crime. “It’s really difficult to put your finger on, especially how far ahead in homicides we are.”
Officers responded to the sound of gunshots found a man’s body about 3:30 a.m. Sunday near 58th Street and Prospect Avenue. He was pronounced dead a short time later. Police had no suspect information to release Sunday morning.
“Sadly it’s been an extremely violent first half of the holiday weekend,” Officer Darin Snapp, a spokesman for the Kansas City Police Department, said in an email. “We are working around the clock to identify those responsible and to prevent further violence but need the public’s help.”
Police asked anyone with information to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-8477.
In comparison, Kansas City saw 38 homicides as of May 26, 2016.
On Dec 31, The Star ran a story saying that with 125 killings in 2016, Kansas City saw its highest total of homicides since 2008. The number of homicides last year has since been adjusted to 130, according to Kansas City police daily homicide analysis. That would make 2016 the deadliest since 1998, when there were 133 homicides.
Temple herself called 9-1-1 on Wednesday evening after hearing gunshots in the 5700 block of Bales Avenue. The body of Antonio C. Hughes, 28, was discovered outside a residence. He was the city’s 46th homicide of 2017.
Temple said a lot of violence stems from people not knowing how to deal with conflict, people may be being traumatized as a child and becoming accustomed to violence.
“You go to school and you come home to find the neighborhood in crime tape and a body lying on the street covered up,” Temple said. “The next day everybody is going back to school and work. Nobody talks about it.”
Temple also believes Missouri’s new law allowing people to carry concealed weapons without a permit is not helping.
“Yes, there are way more guns because of the law,” she said. “Because everyone went and got a gun.”
Daniel believes the rising homicide numbers reflect a combination of things, including substance abuse and mental illness.
“Not enough homicides are being solved,” he said. “You’ve still got a lot of these folks who have committed these homicides still roaming the streets.”
Both Daniel and Temple said another problem is people with information about killings who are afraid to come forward.
Sunday morning’s homicide continued what has been a particularly deadly May in Kansas City. In the first 28 days of the month, there have been 14 homicides in the city, including a 3-year-old child, Marcus Haislip III.
The homicides come at a time when Kansas City is seeing a rise in the number of people being wounded by gunshots.
A Kansas City Star database review of every gunshot that hit a person last year revealed that more and more people are being wounded by gunshots that don’t kill but unleash devastating harm to the victims and neighborhoods they terrorize.
From 2014 to 2016, the city saw a whopping 64 percent spike in nonfatal shootings, an increase from 290 in 2014 to 477 last year. This year, the city is on pace to shatter those numbers.