Crime

Millions of dollars set aside for crime prevention go unclaimed in Kansas City after deadliest year on record

Millions of dollars the Kansas City, Missouri, City Council set aside for crime prevention measures last year have gone untouched. A year ago, the city created a violence prevention and intervention program, but much of the money dedicated to it has gone untouched, according to documents reviewed by local outlet KMBC News. At the same […]

Millions of dollars the Kansas City, Missouri, City Council set aside for crime prevention measures last year have gone untouched.

A year ago, the city created a violence prevention and intervention program, but much of the money dedicated to it has gone untouched, according to documents reviewed by local outlet KMBC News. At the same time, certain crimes in Kansas City reached record highs in 2023.

The city council approved $30 million to be spent over five years on crime prevention programs. The goal was to reduce crime by funding community-based organizations.


So far $755,000 has been given to the program, while over $7.5 million remains unclaimed.

People fish in a park as they get some fresh air on Thursday, March 26, 2020, in Kansas City, Missouri. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

“I’m glad they haven’t spent all of it because the crime rate doesn’t seem to be affected by the spending,” Kansas City criminal defense attorney Henry Service told the outlet. “But I’m not sure what they’re spending it on because any crime prevention programs generally show the receivable of at least a reduction in crime.”

In 2023, there were more deaths by homicide in Kansas City than any year prior. Previously, 2020 had been the deadliest year, with 182 killings, but there were 184 last year. 

For the first year of the new crime prevention program, $3.6 million was allocated to six community groups, which included $900,000 for the KC Metropolitan Crime Commission. However, only $159,000 of that has reportedly been disbursed.

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Commission President Rick Armstrong told KMBC that the commission can ask for the money once a quarter after it completes tasks and documents them.

Two programs that were slated to get money from the crime prevention program have not received any of the funds.

The Community Capital Fund was budgeted $600,000 in fiscal 2024 in hopes of strengthening neighborhood health, but the group has not claimed any of it so far. Design Ranch, a youth violence prevention hotline and marketing program, was allotted $75,000 but also has not claimed any money.

Some programs, such as KC Common Good, which gives children summertime opportunities, have used some of their allocated funds but not all. They were given $550,000 for 2024, but $366,750 remains unclaimed.

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City officials confirmed Armstrong’s statement and said payments are only made once the city receives an invoice for the work done. They said some of the delay could be because these organizations have contracts with the city for the first time.

“One of the understandings that we had was the city, of course, wants to vet who they’re providing money to and what programs are really programs that follow best practice and have a history that demonstrates that this is what we say we’re going to do,” Armstrong said. “We’ll be able to carry that out.”

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