KCMO mayor reacts to spate of homicides

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Following the latest wave of deadly violence in Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas said accepting the status quo is unacceptable.

“I think it’s clear what we’re doing right now isn’t working,” Lucas said.

It comes like families of four, including a teenager, are in mourning on Wednesday.

The victims were killed within 24 hours.

“It’s not about politics at this point, it’s about finding the best programs, courses and cities across the country based on how they’ve solved this problem,” Lucas said.

Lucas believes law enforcement is vital, but it cannot be the only answer to deterring rampant violence at the KCMO.

He points to the Tuesday morning stabbings at Northeast High School which cost the life of Manuel Guzman.

“It’s not about how you have the best control and how you do it like airport security,” Lucas said. “It’s really more about how to reach these kids before they feel the need to react to stress, to anger, like we saw the other day.”

According to the Lucases, there is a plan about to make its way to City Hall written by Children’s Mercy.

It would deal with mental health in young people. The $3 million it would take to implement it would come from federal stimulus funds.

“We’re not going to sideline that school counselor, that mental health expert, that therapist, that social worker, who says you know what my job is to give it to these kids,” Lucas said. “And I’m going to make sure you reach them and we’re going to fund those positions. They’re not ancillary. It’s been clear from the last day that they’re vital and they’re central to how this community becomes more sure.”

KCMO has seen safer days.

In 2014, the homicide rate was the lowest in over 40 years.

At the time, an initiative in partnership with law enforcement, social services and community leaders known as the “Kansas City No Violence Alliance” or KC NOVA, received some credit for the success.

“We can do better. I think there’s been a prevailing sentiment in Kansas City over the past few years that needs to change and needs to change quickly,” Lucas said. “That, you know, everyone will do what they can, but nothing will change.”

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