This City Has Been Named the Murder Capital of Kansas

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Written By Moses Bates

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Kansas is a state in the Midwest region of the United States, known for its agriculture, aviation, and aerospace industries. It is also home to some of the most dangerous cities in the country, according to the latest FBI crime data. Among them, one city stands out as the murder capital of Kansas: Kansas City.

What is the murder rate in Kansas City?

The murder rate is a measure of the number of murders per 100,000 people in a given area. It is often used as an indicator of the level of violence and safety in a community. According to the FBI, the murder rate in Kansas City, Kansas, was 30.9 in 2020, meaning that there were 30.9 murders for every 100,000 residents. This was the fifth-highest murder rate in the United States, trailing only St. Louis, Missouri (88.1), Petersburg, Virginia (76.9), Pine Bluff, Arkansas (56.5), and New Orleans, Louisiana (51.0).

In comparison, the murder rate in Kansas City, Missouri, which is a separate city across the state border, was 35.2 in 2020, ranking fourth in the nation. The murder rate in the state of Kansas as a whole was 6.0 in 2020, slightly below the national average of 6.5.

What are the causes and consequences of the high murder rate in Kansas City?

There are many factors that contribute to the high murder rate in Kansas City, such as poverty, unemployment, drug trafficking, gang activity, domestic violence, and easy access to firearms. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the poverty rate in Kansas City, Kansas, was 19.8% in 2019, higher than the state average of 11.4% and the national average of 12.3%.

The unemployment rate in Kansas City, Kansas, was 7.3% in October 2021, higher than the state average of 3.5% and the national average of 4.6%. The city also has a history of drug-related crimes, especially involving methamphetamine, heroin, and fentanyl. Gangs such as the Crips, the Bloods, and the Surenos have been involved in violent turf wars and retaliatory killings.

Domestic violence has also been a major cause of homicides, accounting for 40% of the murders in Kansas City, Kansas, in 2019. Additionally, Kansas has some of the most lenient gun laws in the country, allowing residents to carry concealed weapons without a permit or a background check.

The high murder rate in Kansas City has serious consequences for the residents and the community. It affects the quality of life, the public health, the economic development, and the social cohesion of the city. It creates a sense of fear, distrust, and hopelessness among the people, especially the youth, who are exposed to violence and trauma on a daily basis.

It also costs the city millions of dollars in law enforcement, criminal justice, health care, and social services. Moreover, it damages the reputation and the image of the city, discouraging tourism, investment, and innovation.

What are the possible solutions to reduce the murder rate in Kansas City?

There is no easy or quick solution to reduce the murder rate in Kansas City, as it requires a comprehensive and collaborative approach from various stakeholders, such as the government, the police, the community, the schools, the nonprofits, and the media. Some of the possible solutions are:

Strengthening the police force and improving the relationship between the police and the community. This includes increasing the number, training, and diversity of the police officers, enhancing the use of technology and data, implementing community policing and problem-solving strategies, and fostering trust and accountability with the public.

Addressing the root causes and the risk factors of violence, such as poverty, unemployment, education, mental health, substance abuse, and family instability. This involves providing more economic opportunities, social services, and support programs for the residents, especially the low-income, the marginalized, and the vulnerable groups.

Preventing and intervening in the cycle of violence, especially among the youth, who are both the victims and the perpetrators of most murders. This entails creating more positive and productive outlets for the youth, such as after-school activities, mentoring, counseling, and conflict resolution. It also means identifying and targeting the high-risk individuals and groups, and offering them alternatives to violence, such as education, employment, and rehabilitation.

Engaging and empowering the community to take ownership and responsibility for the safety and the well-being of the city. This requires building and strengthening the social capital, the civic engagement, and the collective efficacy of the community, through collaboration, communication, and coordination among the residents, the leaders, the organizations, and the institutions.

Raising awareness and changing the culture and the norms around violence, especially the use of firearms. This involves educating and influencing the public, the media, and the policymakers about the causes, the consequences, and the solutions to violence, and promoting a culture of peace, respect, and responsibility.


Kansas City, Kansas, is a city with a rich history, a diverse culture, and a vibrant potential. However, it is also a city with a high murder rate, which poses a serious challenge and a threat to its future. To overcome this challenge and to achieve its potential, the city needs to adopt a comprehensive and collaborative approach to reduce the murder rate and to prevent violence. By doing so, the city can create a safer, healthier, and more prosperous environment for its residents and its visitors.

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