In the first of a series called “Murder Factory,” the Kansas City Star profiles local 64130, eight square miles that are the home to 101 convicted murderers incarcerated in Missouri prisons. No other ZIP code in the state comes close. Though its 26,000 residents make up about 6 percent of the city's population, it accounts for 20 percent of Kansas Citians in prison for murder or voluntary manslaughter. The Star says that, “If society set out to design an assembly line for producing killers, it's hard to imagine a model any more efficient than what exists inside its boundaries.  It has become a murder factory that spans generations.”
The Star surveyed killers who listed 64130 as their home ZIP code and compared them to 270 other convicted killers from across the state. The newspaper also interviewed 64130 residents, city leaders, former inmates, family members of inmates, police officials, and beat cops, and experts. Few zip code residents said their families have been untouched by the violence. Longtime residents can point out where someone was killed, where drugs are sold or where a neighbor's kid lived before he went to prison. Born mostly into poor families, nearly 60 percent of survey respondents grew up without fathers. As young men they were thrust into a prevailing street mentality that demanded a violent response to any insult. Guns could be obtained as cheaply and easily as illegal drugs. Two-thirds of survey respondents possessed guns as teenagers and nearly three-fourths were regular users of drugs and alcohol. Once caught up in that lifestyle, there's no easy way out, the inmates say. “From what I've seen, this is more or less like a trap in the 64130 area,” said killer Keith Carnes.