Member Login
August Homicides, Case Progress and Improved Community Cooperation

August was a difficult month for Kansas City, Mo., in terms of violent crime. There were 20 homicides. Each one of those victims is someone’s loved one. Someone’s friend. We are working hard to hold the people who commit these heinous acts accountable. Despite the influx of murders, our detectives have done an admirable job of investigating and solving these crimes. They have literally worked around the clock.

We have four homicide squads, and they rotate being on call. On several occasions this month, the Homicide Unit commander had to put more than one squad on call. At one point during the weekend of Aug. 4 and 5, every single homicide squad and detective was either on call, on standby or actively working, just to handle the workload. That caused many of them to break or change their weekend plans to handle active cases. I want to publicly commend them for their hard work, which I think you’ll better understand when you read the below.

While all these new homicides were taking place, our detectives also managed to solve three prior cases this August, including a triple murder. We’ve outlined those below, too. Year to date, we now have the highest homicide clearance rate we’ve experienced in the last six years. As of Aug. 31, we were at 74 percent. (That’s according to FBI’s Unified Crime Reporting definition of clearance, which credits the clearance to the year the clearance occurred, not the year the homicide was committed. So past years’ homicides solved this year figure into the 2018 clearance rate.) Consider these homicide clearance rates from where we have been as of Aug. 29 in previous years (also according to the UCR clearance definition):

08-29-18               74%
08-29-17               45%
08-29-16               63%
08-29-15               53%
08-29-14               65%
08-29-13               62%

Even in the cases that aren’t cleared, you’ll see there are few cases in which detectives have no idea what happened. I’ve seen a lot of homicide cases over the years in which detectives know exactly who the suspect is but need witnesses’ help to get the evidence needed to arrest and prosecute a person. And several of those happened in August. Because no matter how good they are, our detectives cannot solve these cases without your help. We must work together to bring justice for grieving families and to prevent these crimes from happening in the first place. Fortunately, the improving clearance rates are evidence that this is happening more and more.

This post was originally published on Sept. 6, 2018 at KCPD Chief’s Blog.

Richard C. Smith
Chief of Police
Kansas City Police Department, Missouri