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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 27, 2002
CONTACT: Lara Schopp, (816) 513-3503

Operation Neighborhood Preservation Sweeps
Result in 29 Additional Arrests of Housing Code Violators

In an effort designed to help remediate blight in Kansas City's neighborhoods, on Wednesday, September 4th, Mayor Kay Barnes and Police Chief Rick Easley kicked off "Operation Neighborhood Preservation," an initiative taking sustained action against housing code violators who have been issued bench warrants for failing to appear in housing court.

Today, an update on the results of this effort was presented to the Kansas City Council Neighborhood Development Committee. During the Police Department's initial sweep on September 4th, 126 residences were checked and 21 arrests were made (including the arrest of one individual who had fifteen warrants), resulting in the clearance of 85 bench warrants. In a second sweep on September 21st, the police made 72 residence checks and eight arrests, clearing 69 bench warrants. Total results to date are 198 residence checks, 29 arrests, and clearance of 154 of the approximately 5,000 backlogged warrants.

In the past, the Police Department has periodically conducted sweeps of violator properties, arresting property-owners who had been issued bench warrants. Under this new program, the Police Department is now working regularly with the Neighborhood Preservation Division and the Mayor's Office to reduce the backlog of bench warrants. The goal of this renewed emphasis on community policing is to improve and stabilize neighborhoods, as well as reduce trash and crime.

"I think this initiative sends the much-needed message that Kansas City, Missouri cares about neighborhoods and we do not tolerate property owners who don't take care of their property," Barnes said.

Beginning October 1st, the Police officers will conduct residence checks as part of their daily activities. A report on the results of the daily activities in October will be available November 5th.

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