Who would have guessed? Kansas City faces rising crime amid decline in police enforcement and staffing

KANSAS CITY, MO - Kansas City is experiencing a troubling increase in violent crime while police enforcement has dropped to record-low levels. This trend mirrors a national pattern, where negative publicity from high-profile incidents involving police leads to reduced police activity.

The city's most severe crimes, categorized as Group A offenses, include murder, kidnapping, rape, and assault. In 2019, before the pandemic, Kansas City reported 43,752 Group A offenses. By 2022, this number had surged to 50,163, marking a 15% increase.

Homicides have also risen sharply, reaching 182 in 2023, the highest number since the city began keeping online records in 2010. This is a significant jump from 82 homicides recorded in 2014, the lowest in the past 14 years.

Police enforcement data shows a dramatic decline in policing, ostensibly including proactive policing. 

Physical arrests fell from 320,223 in 2010 to 142,131 in 2020. After 2020, the city stopped reporting physical arrests in its annual audited report. General arrests decreased from 37,171 in 2010 to 9,662 in 2023. The FBI also reported a drop in Kansas City police arrests, from 13,555 in 2010 to 9,669 in 2022, a 29% decrease.

Traffic violations, including parking violations, have plummeted from 283,052 in 2010 to 56,744 in 2023, indicating a hefty decline in proactive policing and quality of life community policing.

Kansas City Police Department attributes part of the enforcement decline to severe staffing shortages. Sworn staffing dropped from 1,371 in 2015 to 1,142 in 2022.

The numbers of detectives and police officers, who handle most enforcement activities, fell from 253 detectives and 729 officers in 2015 to 201 detectives and 589 officers in 2022, a 20% decrease over seven years.

“A contributing factor that could be significant in the downward trend can be attributed to staffing shortages,” Police Sgt. Phil DiMartino said in an email. “Our department, when fully staffed should have approximately 1,400 officers. Currently we sit around 1,100. This shortage effects proactive activity in all aspects of the department to include car stops and arrests.”

The traffic enforcement unit, specifically tasked with speed enforcement, is operating at 60% of its required strength.

“The unit dedicated to patrolling the streets for speed violators, and the majority of the contributors to the number of vehicles stopped year in and year out, is currently 40% down from what would be fully staffed,” DiMartino said. “Additionally in recent years, the traffic enforcement officers have been tasked with helping patrol officers with accident reports. That leads to the primary members who would otherwise be conducting speed enforcement to be otherwise occupied.”

In March, the police department introduced a new crime plan to tackle the increasing violence.

Police Chief Stacey Graves emphasized the need for a dual approach: holding offenders accountable and addressing the root causes of crime.

“Kansas City is facing challenges with rising violent crime,” Police Chief Stacey Graves said in a media release. “For those who say we need to hold offenders more accountable for their violent acts and for those who say we need more options that address the root causes of crime, you are correct on both accounts. While we can’t arrest our way out of the next generation of violent crime, we also can’t solely rely on well-intended programs to ensure safety from violent individuals in our city.”
For corrections or revisions, click here.
The opinions reflected in this article are not necessarily the opinions of LET
Sign in to comment



thanks to the democrats that are destroying America one city at a time.

Powered by LET CMS™ Comments

Get latest news delivered daily!

We will send you breaking news right to your inbox

© 2024 Law Enforcement Today, Privacy Policy