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Amid Police Crackdown, Crime Continues To Fall In Kansas City, Kansas

Andrea Tudhope
KCUR 89.3
At a press conference Monday, U.S. Marshal Ron Miller, left, and Kansas City, Kansas Police Chief Terry Ziegler, center, shared the results of a special operation targeting drug and 'gang' activity in KCK.

Violent crime is down in Kansas City, Kansas, due in part to a 60-day crime-fighting initiative. 

Federal, state and local law enforcement, including Kansas City, Kansas, Police and the Kansas Highway Patrol, partnered to target drug and "gang" activity in March and April. Through this effort — dubbed "Operation Lateral Storm" — they carried out 219 arrests and cleared nearly 600 warrants, officials said. From nearly 800 traffic stops, they seized 38 weapons, 37 pounds of narcotics and about $17,000.

At a press conference Monday, KCKPD Chief Terry Zeigler had this message for people who commit crimes. 

"Get out of our city," he said. "Don't care where you go, just don't come to KCK. Don't do your crime here. We will track you down. We are going to remain vigilant ... and given the opportunity, we will try to get prosecution at a federal level so our bad guys stay in prison longer."

Compared to this time two years ago, violent crime overall and property crime are each down about 40 percent. Officials said this translates to 145 fewer victims of crime.

U.S. Marshal for the District of Kansas Ron Miller said this targeted approach aims to focus law enforcement efforts on what he said is the 5 percent of the population that commits 60-80 percent of all crime.

"If you target those 5 percenters who commit crime regularly, who have warrants, remove them from society, get those folks off the street, crime goes down," Miller said.

Miller said he couldn't specify if any of the "gangs" they investigated had connections to Mexican or Central American drug cartels.

"But, there is no doubt that this runs up and down I-35 right down through Texas into Mexico. Cartels are operating in all of the United States. Kansas is no exception to that," Miller said.

On the whole, violent crime in Kansas City, Kansas is down. Last year saw 35 homicides, down from 41 in 2017. Both violent crime, which includes aggravated assaults, homicides, rape and robberies, and property crime dropped about 11 percent.

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

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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