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Nash unveils plan to combat crime on Prospect Avenue

City Councilman Troy Nash, 3rd District-at-Large, today announced a wide-ranging set of proposals designed to combat crime, stimulate economic development, and build stronger neighborhoods in the Prospect Corridor. Nash unveiled the plan today at a 1:45 p.m. news conference at 39th Street and Prospect Avenue.

Although a strategic plan for the area has been discussed since a successful 144-hour community vigil at 39th Street and Prospect Avenue in 2000, Nash said that plans were advanced in response to recent murders along Prospect Avenue.

Three separate initiatives funded by the City of Kansas City, Mo., were announced at the news conference.

The Kansas City Police Department will receive funds to purchase four all-terrain vehicles and a mobile headquarters for the unit to be located near 39th Street and Prospect Avenue. Law enforcement officials are often unable to apprehend suspects in their squad cars due to the alleys and abandoned lots found in the urban core. The ATVs will give police another tool to use and increase their ability to combat crime.

The Rat On A Rat program, which Nash launched a few years ago, is aimed at cleaning up neighborhoods in the Prospect Corridor. With a monitoring task force, incentives for those who report illegal dumpers, and weekly ROAR patrols, illegal dumpers will find it more difficult to pollute the inner city. In addition to the environmental hazards posed by illegal dumping, the practice often encourages other criminal activity by providing cover and creating the false impression that neighborhood residents are apathetic about the future of their area.

Finally, additional weed abatement activities will be launched. Tall weeds can hinder economic development, create a health nuisance to neighbors, serve as cover for criminal activity, and impede law enforcement from capturing suspects.

“This is a wide-ranging plan to combat crime. The crimes that have been discovered over the past few weeks must not be tolerated," Nash said. "We have to do something about them – and we can. By funding additional police activity, and cracking down on traits and practices that give criminals cover, we are striking back. The outraged citizens’ voices have been heard. Our community is not going to simply watch as it is devastated; we will respond forcefully, and with the power of government,” Nash said.

The City will provide the following additional services to address public safety concerns in an area roughly bounded by 21st Street on the north to 31st Street on the south, and Prospect Avenue east to Indiana Avenue:

    An additional mowing of land trust and City-owned lots and alleyways within this area at an additional cost to the General Fund of approximately $40,000

    The targeted demolition of up to 15 critically vacant and dangerous buildings in the area at a cost of approximately $60,000 from federal Community Development Block Grant dollars

    Four ATVs and a mobile police command center located at 39th Street and Prospect Avenue at a cost of $32,000 from federal CDBG dollars to provide improved police response in the area.

For the next fiscal year (2005-06) Nash will recommend the following improvements:

    Monthly mowing of all 1200+ vacant Land Trust properties in the city at a cost of approximately $300,000 (a 350 percent increase over the current funding of two mowings per year)

    A doubling of current building demolition funding to prevent a backlog of dangerous buildings in need of demolition from recurring in the City.

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