Saturday, November 12, 2011

Bloody 20 Hours Leaves Six Dead

In a fairly narrow geographical area too. Kansas City's East Side. 28th Street to the south. 5400 to the east, roughly Van Brunt/Hardesty. 24th Street to the north. 2900 to the west, Benton Boulevard. One group of three, one singleton, one pair. At about 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Friday and 6 a.m. Saturday. No names have been released, but more then likely, the victims are members of a minority ethnic group.

You know, people have different reactions to this type of news. For some, it is hardly news, as long as it is in that neighborhood, with Those People. Others are frightened that crime is running rampant. Others demand that "something be done." Still more say not enough attention is paid, and that is due to race matters.

Honestly, what can a city's government do to prevent murders? There are some things that can be done, yes: Here's a quick list: Solve open cases to avoid retribution chains, keep truly criminal people in jail, police and city leaders need to work with the neighborhood leaders to develop trust, lines of communication, use of concentrated police work such as warrant sweeps and stings, ask that leaders of Kansas City's east side begin to speak out against the potent but minority thug culture and demand better of people...

There are the larger cultural and systemic issues: Why do people in this area put up with this stuff--when such things happen in other Kansas City neighborhoods, residents are outraged. It is not tolerated. Police are not hindered in their investigation by the witness and/or victim not cooperating. Is there a perverse pride in being the neighborhood that has the most deadly violent crime? There is nothing a city government can do for this. No amount of money will improve this, and police work is reduced to working after the fact.

The status quo is hard to move--leaders that are benefiting are loathe to change. People in minority crime ridden neighborhoods are biased to not trust the police--the police don't trust the people either and in extreme cases some officers might even consider the people less smart, trustworthy, disciplined and even less human than people in other neighborhoods or of other racial groups. Everything that happens gets filtered through Black distrust and White fear.

The problem is a murder rate, even if the majority of a city is fairly free of murders, portrays a city ridden with crime that is not safe. That affects the city's reputation, which affects the marketplace for companies and people to move to Kansas City. That in turn makes tax collection smaller, which leaves the city less able to provide basic services. To raise money, the city might consider raising taxes, which again discourages economic development. A vicious cycle.

Let's start with this: solve these three crimes and begin to build relationships between police and community. Now is the time with fresh faces in the mayor's and police chief's offices to make plans and strategies, move some resources, do some new stuff. There will always likely be more murders in the east side, if for no other reason that the culture of pleasure, scorn for education and achievement, and the ready availability of quick cash through drug dealing is extremely difficult to dislodge. The good people of the east side deserve better, the rest of the city needs to be protected. Kansas City cannot afford to ignore this problem or only apply a band-aid solution. It deserves to be made a priority, even after recognizing that violent crime will not disappear. All the citizens of the city deserve better then what is happening now.


Bob G. said...

You bring up some marvelous aspects that cities (in general) SHOULD be doing to alleviate crime and the criminal element.

If I didn't know better, I could SWEAR ('cause I know most all the words) that you were speaking about FORT WAYNE, and NOT KCMO...amazing how similar in patterns we find oursevles when it comes to the "bad side of the tracks"...

ALL law-abiding citizens DO deserve better from their local govenrments...I know that FIRST-HAND (thanks to rampant apathy by most everyone else in my part of the ghettohood).

Your last paragraph speaks VOLUMES, and I appreciate your take on this.
Spot on!
"Culture of Pleasure"...brilliant!
(and all too true)

You can't really "prevent" crime (per se), because much of it IS "opportunistic" in "just happens"...most often with spontaneity.

But by God, you CAN minimize the impact OF crime by making EVERYONE accountable to the laws that we PAY legislators to write and pass for ALL our safety.

All communities need to step up to the bar here, and do what NEEDS to be done within their OWN community.

I've said for years that placing "band-aids" on compound fractures and ruptured arteries (societally-speaking)isn't doing any good...and with your EMT past, you know EXACTLY what I mean with this.

This is a great post.

Stay strong.
And stay SAFE out thetre.

The Observer said...

Thanks for your great comment. I am catching up, as my family situation has stabilized for a bit, plus my "H" is working today!

Just to update, it appears as if the KCPD has solved all these crimes--yay.

OTOH, we have surpassed the 100 mark for homicides--we are at 101 murders in KCMO for 2011. The new police chief is working hard; the mayor and city council, not so much.

There is a dense underculture of violence in the poor communities--fueled by drugs and the loss of vision and hope by many of the citizens. A lot of it does come from drugs, it drains the potential of the kids, their motivation, the idea that things can be different for them. It becomes all about the drugs, and the quick and easy money that comes from them, and the way the drugs numb the person and remove their motivation and drive.

I think we start with controlling the situation as best we can--catching bad characters and so forth. But it is just superficial work--the deep wound is the one that people are trying to take care of by using dope. (There's that God thing again...)

The Observer