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Summer in Kansas City means a youth curfew as mayor begs residents to 'put the guns down'

File photo of a fatal shooting at 67th Street and Cleveland Avenue that left one man dead on Friday, March 22, 2024.
Carlos Moreno
KCUR 89.3
File photo of a fatal shooting at 67th Street and Cleveland Avenue that left one man dead on Friday, March 22, 2024.

Police and Mayor Quinton Lucas say a focus on deterrence, community partners and youth curfews could help stem the record violence of last year, when there were seven homicides over Memorial Day weekend.

Kansas City Police and Mayor Quinton Lucas on Friday pointed to a “focused deterrence” plan, youth curfews and community partnerships to hopefully cut down on the city’s chronic gun violence.

Lucas also begged people to refrain from celebratory gunfire and to call police if arguments begin to escalate into violence.

“We ask everyone to put the guns down,” Lucas said. “But if you do hear gun violence or shootings in your community, make sure that you call authorities.”

Lucas said the city’s homicides are down 15% compared to a five-year average going into the Memorial Day holiday, which he called a “positive trend.”

But last year the city had a record number of homicides and this year, nine children under 17 years old have been killed. Seven people were killed in a 72-hour stretch of the 2023 Memorial Day holiday.

KCPD Deputy Chief Joe Mabin said he’s planned for “any contingency” during the annual Celebration at the Station, the first major public event at Union Station since the Feb. 14 Super Bowl parade, when one person was killed and another 24 wounded. Extra on- and off-duty police officers will be there, as well as Jackson County Sheriff’s officers, Mabin said.

City leaders planned to unveil more in the coming week about a program called Stand Against Violence Kansas City, or SAVE KC, Lucas said. After the Super Bowl Parade shootings, Police Chief Stacey Graves said she would be working more on “focused deterrence” of crime.

Lucas said the focused deterrence includes services for a “targeted narrow group of individuals,” “real consequences” for violators, close work with police and prosecutors, and support for community organizations already in the field.

Kansas City has a youth curfew during weekends. This year's begins Friday and runs through September. Citywide, people ages 15 and younger must be accompanied by an adult starting at 10 p.m.; 16- and 17-year olds must be accompanied by adult starting at 11 pm.

In the entertainment districts, people under 17 must be accompanied by an adult starting at 9 p.m. The districts include the Country Club Plaza, Westport, Downtown and 18th and Vine. All curfews end at 6 a.m.

Police will also be working on combating street racing, car side shows and drunk drivers this summer, Mabin said.

“We’re asking people to leave their guns at home and not let arguments and disturbances lead to violence. Call the police before things escalate,” Mabin said. “Violence anywhere in Kansas City is a harm to everyone in Kansas City.”

I’m a veteran investigative reporter who came up through newspapers and moved to public media. I want to give people a better understanding of the criminal justice system by focusing on its deeper issues, like institutional racism, the poverty-to-prison pipeline and police accountability. Today this beat is much different from how reporters worked it in the past. I’m telling stories about people who are building significant civil rights movements and redefining public safety. Email me at lowep@kcur.org.
As KCUR’s Missouri politics and government reporter, it’s my job to show how government touches every aspect of our lives. I break down political jargon so people can easily understand policies and how it affects them. My work is people-forward and centered on civic engagement and democracy. I hold political leaders and public officials accountable for the decisions they make and their impact on our communities. Follow me on Twitter @celisa_mia or email me at celisa@kcur.org.
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