Today, KCMO Police Chief Corwin has a second installment of the actions the city is taking to curb what he calls an escalation of crime along Armour near Troost. In today's blog posting, Corwin notes how the city is using video cameras to catch crime in the area - and shows how 3 cameras showed a man shooting another man at Armour and Troost -- then going to a nearby apartment building (one of several project-based Section 8 units in the area) and then the gun exchanges hands twice while a young girl watches.
Yesterday, Corwin noted that they have declared a very high crime area along Armour as a Restricted Zone where people convicted of certain crimes in the area are not allowed to be in that area after they are released from jail. The reason for the restricted zone, according to Corwin, is because the small area saw 6 homicides in 2009 and a rise in other shootings and narcotics cases. Four people have gone back to jail upon being in the zone since the start of the program with another 11 people on the restricted list.
It should also be noted that the Missouri Housing Development Corporation has fronted $75,000 to help pay for off-duty officers to patrol the area.
The area residents have been critical of the city's lack of low-income housing policy that has allowed the concentration of low-income people into a few small high-rise buildings that has led to the increase in crime in the area. While the police are very aware of the issues and definitely working to make a dent in the violent crime problem, city hall remains quiet on any actual changes to permanent solutions to the problem.
While some have wanted to cast the situation as the haves vs the have nots, I challenge anyone to watch the video and criticizing any neighborhood for not wanting to deal with people shooting other people, and young children getting to watch guns being passed around in front of them. And you would think that anything that would help curb the violent crime in the city should be welcomed.
The problem is not new. Heck, I first wrote about it here 18 months ago. And the 2009 numbers are pretty staggering. And I applaud the KCMO Police for being innovative in their approach to dealing with crime hot spots in the city. Meanwhile, city hall, where are you? How can you consistently fail to ignore the city's lack of a thorough, smart policy on dealing with low-income housing and the crime that it is leading to?