Most of Kansas City's violent crime torments neighborhoods in one-tenth of the city, says the Kansas City Star. Last year, 75 percent of homicides, 71 percent of aggravated assaults, 74 percent of robberies and 62 percent of rapes occurred in that 34-square-mile area, according to maps created by Kansas City police analysts. “When I started in 1985, that's where the violence was,” said Police Chief Darryl Forté.
What is new is how police are responding, said Forté, who lobbied for the department's top job by pledging to reduce violent crime. As of Friday, the city had recorded 15 homicides in 2014, eight fewer than this time last year. In recent weeks, he moved more than 40 officers to the Violent Crime Division to focus on reducing violence — a structural upheaval that the department has not seen in decades. “There has been so much reorganization in the last six months,” said Capt. Joe McHale, whose father worked for the department. “The department looks so different, it's unbelievable.” Says the chief: “Now when we have homicide suspects, we have a team ready to go after them. If we need someone to sit on a house, we have someone.”