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What Will It Take For Kansas Citians To Call TIPS Hotline On Homicides? Police Say $10,000

Andrea Tudhope
KCUR 89.3
Kansas City police canvas a block on March 10, 2018 in the Northeast neighborhood. Police officials say they are hoping to get more tips in homicides and other crimes by forging better relationships with community members.

For the second time in less than a year, the Kansas City Police Department is increasing the reward for homicide tips. As of Friday, the KCPD will dole out $10,000 for any tip that leads to an arrest in an unsolved homicide.

After increasing the reward to $5,000 in November last year, police say they were able to arrest suspects in two cold cases.

"These were cases that detectives just had nothing on, they had no follow-up. All they did was continually reach out to the victims' families and say, 'Hey, we're still working on it,'" says KCPD Sergeant Kari Thompson.

Two cases may not sound like a lot, Thompson says but given the number of homicides in Kansas City, Missouri, finding and charging suspects is a big challenge. 

"Chief Rick Smith said, 'We have to do something more. We're trying everything,'" Thompson says.

She says Smith took his cue from Nebraska's Omaha Crime Stoppers program, which offer a reward of up to $25,000 for a tip leading to an arrest in a homicide. According to Thompson, increasing the reward is something the KCPD had never tried before November.

Ad Hoc Group Against Crime Director Damon Daniel is hopeful this will be an incentive for those who might hesitate to come forward.

"Every little bit helps," Daniel says.

But, he emphasizes, these witnesses need to be protected. 

"That's real. We have a large majority that choose not to speak out of safety reasons," Thompson says. "Then we have others that have been raised with the negative, vile mindset of not 'snitching.'"

She says the police are prepared to help protect witnesses, but cannot reveal details on how exactly. 

Kansas City police are encouraging anyone with information to call the TIPS hotline at 816-474-8477.

Andrea Tudhope is a reporter for KCUR 89.3. Email her at andreat@kcur.org, and follow her on Twitter @_tudhope.

Andrea Tudhope is an award-winning multimedia journalist based in Kansas City, Missouri. She is currently coordinating producer for America Amplified, a national public media community engagement initiative funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. 
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