Column: New York City safer than Kansas City


By Jon Parton

Something has to be done to curb the increasing rate of murder and violence in Kansas City. You are statistically more likely to be murdered in KC than in New York City.

New York City, home to more than eight million people, had a total of 515 murders last year. Kansas City, Missouri, with its population of about 420,000, had a total of 108. According to the FBI, Kansas City has the fourth highest murder rate out of all cities in the United States.

Try taking a visit to the neighborhoods of 30th Street and Bales Avenue or 41st Street and Forest Avenue sometime. The communities there have been devastated by poverty and a city that refuses to help. For instance, take a look at the Kansas City School District. The beleaguered district has lost accreditation twice in the past 11 years, a direct result of mismanagement.

The underlying problems with education do more than coincide with the high murder rates in the city; they directly affect one another. According to a report by the National Center for Education Statistics, the dropout rate for low-income students in 2009 was five times more than high-income students.

According to that same report, a high school dropout earns $630,000 less over a lifetime than someone with a GED. In a 2009 study, researchers at Northeastern University found that about one in 10 male high school dropouts are either in juvenile detention or jail. When the government fails to do what it’s supposed to, it’s the people who suffer.

Not only is poor education responsible for crime rates, so are the poverty stricken states some neighborhoods are allowed to languish in. Why would anyone want to open a business or invest in a community with a high rate of crime? There needs to be decisive action taken in the matter of law enforcement. A good place to look is New York City.

Violent crime has dropped in New York City since 1990. In 2006, the city adopted legislation that established a registry of gun offenders and required gun stores to send inventory reports to the police twice a year.

Their police department adopted a strategy called “broken windows” policing. The strategy involves maintaining neighborhoods by stopping individuals for lesser violations of the law. The theory states that by cracking down on minor crimes, police can help prevent major crimes from occurring. The city also hired more police officers in order to better handle the amount of crime it faced.

Whatever Kansas City does, its government officials can no longer sit by and watch as neighborhoods decline further into poverty and murder rates continue to rise.

Contact Jon Parton, managing editor, at


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