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The Number Of People Resisting Arrest Has Spiked In Kansas City Since 2015

Sam Zeff
KCUR 89.3
Kansas City police arrest a car theft suspect. While officers encountered no resistance in this arrest, KCPD Chief Rick Smith says resisting arrests incidents have spiked in the last four years.

The number of criminal suspects who resist arrest in Kansas City has risen 60 percent over the past four years, Kansas City Police Chief Rick Smith told a city council committee Wednesday.

“To me, that’s a little bit alarming,” Smith told members of the Neighborhoods and Public Safety Committee. “It shows our officers are being put in positions to be assaulted or to be harmed by suspects.”

“Do you believe it’s just because societally we’re getting more aggressive? Can you even pinpoint anything?” Councilwoman Heather Hall from the Northland asked.

Smith said that the department doesn't know why resisting arrest incidents jumped from 581 in 2015 to 930 last year, but he said many are not serious. “Most of these are minor scrapes, pulling away, 'I don’t want to go,' that kind of thing, which is much better than a real fight where people are getting hurt,” he said.

Smith told the committee that other mid-sized departments are seeing the same increase in resisting. There are many different definitions of resisting so a national number is difficult to come by.

The report to the city council also included crime statistics from last year.

It showed homicides down ten percent and aggravated assaults down eight percent between 2017 and 2018. Smith was clear he wasn't claiming victory against violent crime in Kansas City. "My goal is to get this city off the 10 most violent cities lists," he told KCUR.

Property crime is also down. Residential burglary fell 27 percent from 2017 to 2018, according to KCPD statistics.

Auto theft, however, remains a rather vexing problem. The number of stolen cars went down last year but only by four percent.

As KCUR has reported, auto thefts skyrocketed in Missouri after a 2012 law was enacted, allowing cars ten years or older to be scrapped without a title.

Sam Zeff is KCUR's metro reporter. You can follow Sam on Twitter @samzeff

You deserve to know what your taxpayer dollars are paying for and what public officials are doing on your behalf – I’ll work to report on irresponsible government spending in the Kansas City area and shed light on controversies that slow government down. And when you hear my voice in the morning, you know you’re getting everything you need to start your day. Email me at sam@kcur.org, find me on Twitter @samzeff or call me at 816-235-5004.
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