- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 13, 2016

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forte says the city should consider tearing down abandoned properties in blighted areas to help reduce crime.

He mentioned the idea Tuesday during a Board of Police Commissioners, although he hasn’t worked out details or the estimated costs. He suggested reallocating money for hiring extra officers to demolish the properties and make other improvements, such as repairing streetlights and sidewalks. Forte believes a dilapidated environment can lead to crime, The Kansas City Star reported (https://bit.ly/1mUYDlB ).

He said rather than hire 60 police officers, the department should consider hiring 55 and use the extra money for the neighborhood improvements.

“I understand the city’s position but as the chief of police, I am willing to use some of the money we might have been allocated to do some other things and not just focus on the human capital,” Forte said. “If we demolish some of those houses, put curbs in, do streetlights, then I am confident we can reduce crime in those areas.”

Alissia Canady, chairwoman of the Kansas City Council’s Neighborhoods and Public Safety Committee, was excited to hear the recommendation.

“That is a great indication of his understanding of what the real underlying issues are with crime, and to the extent he can minimize the areas where criminals like to take over,” Canady said.

City Manager Troy Schulte said Tuesday the city has 875 dangerous buildings on a list and estimated that it would cost $10 million to demolish them.

Mayor Sly James said the idea would need to be carefully scrutinized before any action could be taken.

“I kind of took that as a throwaway, in-the-world-of-possibilities type of a comment. I didn’t take it as something he was seriously thinking about to be honest,” James said. “If he is, then I guess we will talk about it at budget time.”


Information from: The Kansas City Star, https://www.kcstar.com

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