To the editor:
We have now completed two full years of Sly James as mayor of Kansas City, and it is therefore appropriate to review these two years with respect to KCMO's crime situation. In the spring of 2008 a major crime surge began in the black neighborhoods of KCMO: In 2007 there were 94 homicides in KCMO (62 black and 32 other races); in 2008 there were 126 homicides in KCMO (95 black and 31 other races) – the month of August 2008 was the highest monthly total for homicides in the city's history.
This 2008 surge in violence cannot, repeat cannot, be blamed on national factors like the recession or weak gun control laws. In the nation as a whole three-fourths of the cities saw declines in homicides in 2008;. KCMO's homicide increase was by far the largest of any city in the nation.
In the calender years since 2008 this crime surge in the black neighborhoods of the city has continued: In 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 there were all significantly more black homicides than there were in 2007, and in all of these years there were fewer homicides of other races than in 2007.
Put briefly, the crime patterns in KCMO's white/Asian/Hispanic neighborhoods appears to be following a national trend of a decline in crime since 2007. The city's black neighborhoods are a glaring exception to this national trend.
With respect to the first two years of Sly James' administration, there is both good and bad news. The bad news is that in the first 12 months of his administration crime went up sharply: In the last 12 months of the Funkhouser administration there were 98 homicides, in the first 12 months of the James administration there were 126. The good news is that in the second 12 months of the James administration there was a major decline in homicides. In these 12 months there were 101 homicides. However, the post-2007 crime surge in the city's black neighborhoods continues to persist.
In the past 12 months there have been 78 black homicides and 23 homicides for other races, compared to the 2007 totals of 62 black homicides and 32 homicides for other races. Also, in Jan. 2013 the city saw the highest homicide total for any January since 1994. So, with respect to the black neighborhoods of KCMO, a most serious crime problem continues to exist.