Kansas City Mayor Sly James on Wednesday will announce the members of a new task force to try to confront violence in Kansas City.
The mayor is seeking creative solutions because the state of Missouri pre-empts gun control measures that the city might want to enact.
After a drop in homicides in 2014, Kansas City’s murder rate has spiked again, as has the rate of aggravated assaults. The city has recorded 90 homicides so far this year, compared with 81 for all of last year. In 2013, the city had also recorded 90 homicides by this time and went on to have 100 homicides.
On a per capita basis, Kansas City remains one of the most violent cities in America.
In an email to his council colleagues, James wrote, “In response to the increase in gun violence in our community this year, I will convene a cadre of community stakeholders that will work to develop pragmatic policies and recommendations to address violence in our community.”
The task force will be co-led by Councilwoman Jolie Justus, a former Missouri state senator who is very familiar with the Missouri General Assembly, and Andres Dominguez of the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City.
The other members will be announced at a Wednesday press conference, and the group is expected to meet periodically over the course of one year.
A spokeswoman for the mayor said the Police Department is aware of and supports the formation of this citizens group to brainstorm for new and creative strategies to combat the problem.