Kansas City Doing Little to Encourage Crime-Witness Cooperation


In the second in a series on its finding that 60 percent of last year’s Kansas City shooting victims did not cooperate with police, the Kansas City Star says that unlike the situation when a similar problem emerged in the 1980s, “today, victims of nonfatal shootings mostly stand alone. No one in Kansas City has been pushing for changes in how these cases are handled. So, many gunmen roam free, aware that arrests are unlikely even if they shoot more people, just like batterers knew decades ago that they could get away with repeated assaults.”

Austin and Denver enjoy low violent-crime rates and high victim cooperation, partly due to the extensive service they provide to victims, officials say. In Kansas City, police offer few follow-up services for victims, said Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forté. He's not surprised they've gotten the impression no one cares. In recent decades, just one Police Department employee has performed a victim advocacy role, and she did it part-time. Basically, she mailed information packets describing state financial aid to the designated next of kin for homicide victims, Forté said.

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