The top Democrat on the Missouri House Special Committee on Tourism says violent crime is hurting business in his hometown of Kansas City.
Kansas City Police say there have been 110 homicides in 2019, and five of the victims were children. State Rep. Richard Brown, D-Kansas City, tells Capitol reporters the time for action is now, adding that God wants state lawmakers to take action instead of praying.
“In Kansas City in the month of August, we had a double homicide in the Power and Light district,” Brown says. “A patron was shot and killed in the 18th and Vine Jazz District.”
The popular Power and Light District includes restaurants, bars, live music and shopping.
Representative Brown, who’s the treasurer of Missouri’s Legislative Black Caucus, notes Kansas City is trying to attract the World Cup. The city is one of 17 finalist cities to host 2026 World Cup matches. Brown says fans won’t come if they don’t feel safe.
“Patrons who attend the Westport entertainment district now have to go through metal detectors on the weekend, and right now the (Country Club) Plaza is on life support because of the lack of patronage to the businesses on the weekends because of past violence,” says Brown.
He says a meaningful conversation must take place at the Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City.
Meantime, Governor Mike Parson (R) told Capitol reporters Friday afternoon that he’ll be meeting soon with Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas (D) and others about the issue of violent crime. The governor says it will take a coordinated effort among federal, state and community leaders.
“This will never be fixed by one agency,” Parson says. “It won’t. It’s going to take a lot of people a long time to try to fix this problem.”
That is the governor’s position as well on the crime issue in St. Louis City and County. 13 children have died from shootings in St. Louis City in 2019, and the “St. Louis Post-Dispatch” reports six children in St. Louis County have died from gunshot wounds since January.
Parson met recently at the Statehouse with Representative Brown and other Black Caucus leaders. State Rep. Ashley Bland Manlove, D-Kansas City, says Kansas City and St. Louis have consistently ranked in the top ten deadliest cities for at least a decade.
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