Kansas City police and the Kansas City Metropolitan Crime Commission announced Friday the cash payout for tips given in homicide cases has increased from $5,000 to $10,000.
"As we all know, the homicide rate continues to grow this year and we have discussed ways that we think we can get the community involved to help this department and to help our community work on the violent crime problem." said Kansas City Police Chief Rick Smith in announcing the reward increase.
"The tool of offering that reward helps community engagement and that's what we need right now," Smith said.
The reward increase is for tips in Kansas City homicides that lead to an arrest. Last fall, the reward amount jumped from $2,000 to $5,000. Officials said that increase has helped to solve several homicides.
Smith said a number of recent homicides remain unsolved and the additional reward money might be an incentive for citizens to come forward with useful information.
"We think raising the reward will help solve these homicides and get the calls in we need to get them solved," he said.
Anyone with information about an unsolved homicide should call the hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477).
Kansas City City Manager Troy Schulte said the city is providing nearly $175,000 toward the reward effort.
"It also puts a challenge back to the civic community that has raised the issue recently as to what is the city and the police department doing to deal with this crime issue," Schulte said. "Our response is here's a tangible result and additional resources that we are putting into the mix."
City leaders are encouraging the civic community to help the city by investing more money in summer programs that help Kansas City youth.
Recent offerings such as Teens in Transition, summer jobs and summer athletic programs have yielded tangible results in reducing crime and providing youth with alternatives, Schulte said.
"This is about partnerships," he said. "We are showing tangible results."
The Kansas City Metropolitan Crime Commission has initiated conversations with other area municipalities. Several of those cities may soon announce their individual plans to increase the reward amount, said the group's president Rick Armstrong.