From homicide to car theft, nearly every category of violent crime and property crime in Kansas City is down so far in 2014 compared with the same period last year.
Homicides showed the largest percentage decrease, 37 percent. Reported rapes also were down significantly, according to the statistics presented at Tuesday’s Board of Police Commissioners meeting.
The statistics, which cover January through July, show that crime across all the categories is down 12 percent from the same period in 2013.
“I’m encouraged by the 37 percent drop in homicides because our city’s violent crime rate has been a scar on our neighborhoods for too long,” said Mayor Sly James, a member of the police board.
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In his blog, Police Chief Darryl Forté said the decrease in homicides “is the first significant reduction in homicides in the last 50 years.”
Forté touted the work of the department’s Violent Crimes Enforcement Unit, which has made hundreds of arrests of wanted fugitives and violent crime suspects.
The unit also has recovered 119 guns that were possessed illegally and has referred more than 50 cases to federal authorities for prosecution, Forté said in his blog.
The unit serves as the enforcement arm for the Kansas City No Violence Alliance, which identifies and targets the city’s most violent criminals and their associates.
Forté said he believes that the alliance and an increase in cooperation between the community and police are some of the factors creating the reduction in reported crimes.
The statistics showed a 23 percent reduction in reported rapes, 21 percent in burglary, 10 percent in robbery, 5 percent in car thefts and 4 percent in aggravated assaults.
The only reported increases were for arson at 8 percent and nonaggravated assaults at 3 percent.
The mayor also praised the work of the alliance, known as KC NoVa.
“There is still work to do because even one homicide is too many,” James said. “But I have faith in the collaborative and strategic approach of KC NoVa. This year’s data tells us that so far we are making great strides in the right direction.”