Missouri’s governor says one of the keys to reducing violent crime is protecting witnesses, saying some of them are afraid to come forward.

Missouri Governor Mike Parson (center) meets with Columbia Mayor Brian Treece, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson and Springfield Mayor Ken McClure on October 18, 2019 in Springfield (photo courtesy of KSGF’s Bailey Strohl)

Governor Mike Parson (R) made his comments after meeting with mayors of four large Missouri cities on Friday in Springfield. Parson addressed reporters, after meeting with Springfield Mayor Ken McClure, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson and Columbia Mayor Brian Treece.

“How do you give the resources for somebody to be safe. You know, how do you get a witness that’s willing to come forward and testify and to make sure that we’re going to protect them,” Parson says.

The governor says he and the mayors agree on this issue, adding that it’s a priority.

“Because the reality of it is in some of these neighborhoods in some of the areas where this is happening, people don’t want to come forward because they’re afraid,” says Parson. “And we’ve got to figure out how you make them safe, before we do anything.”

Governor Parson is traveling to Kansas City to meet Tuesday afternoon with State Rep. Richard Brown, D-Kansas City, and Kansas City-area pastors about crime and economic development. Brown, the ranking Democrat on the Missouri House Special Committee on Tourism, told Capitol reporters during the September special session that August homicides in the Power and Light and 18th and Vine Jazz districts have hurt businesses in Kansas City.

Parson will also meet separately Tuesday afternoon with Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas about crime and other issues, including jobs.

Kansas City Police say there have been 121 homicides this year.

U.S. Attorney Tim Garrison has told Missourinet that Missouri has three of the top 15 most violent cities in the nation, on a per capita basis. Those three cities are St. Louis, Kansas City and Springfield.

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