After mass shooting, city considers beefing up security in Westport
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - After a mass shooting left one person dead and five others hurt Sunday night in Westport, the city is looking for ways to make popular entertainment districts in Kansas City safer.
“There were more police than I have ever seen in my life on this street,” said Courtney Thornhill, recalling Sunday night.
The city wants the crime to stop at 18th & Vine, the Country Club Plaza, and Westport.
People in Westport Wednesday said there’s a lot it has to offer with the nightlife scene and history but many fear going there, especially at night.
“People are inviting me out like, ‘Hey, we’re going out to Westport!’ It’s just a ‘stay clear of it’ now, lately, it seems,” said Alanis Carrillo.
The Kansas City, Missouri, City Council said they are working with the police department and Jackson County Sheriff’s Office to hire off-duty officers during the night. Funding was originally allocated to the KCPD for 18th & Vine ($522,000 as part of the FY22-23 adopted budget and has been transferred to the General Services Department). The city earned interest on its American Rescue Plan Fund and requested to transfer those funds to the Plaza and Westport ($232,000) for security and to RebuildKC projects ($518,743.26).
Thornhill said, “If the crime went down a little bit, people would come from other areas and go out here more.”
The KCPD said they can’t afford the overtime pay to bring officers just there. The sheriff’s office said they don’t feel safe leaving their personal property overnight in the area when working off-duty.
“I’ve seen them have metal detectors,” said Carrillo. “I’ve seen people, like, making sure people are coming in and out, and it seems like it still gets in somehow.”
One person said they should look at other avenues because even the extra help wouldn’t stop the crime from happening.
“There are more important things like the street itself, like fixing the streets. There’s been construction. They’re going to be hosting the World Cup in like four years,” said Daniel Moreira. “There’s a lot of infrastructure things that should be taken care of ahead of security in a place where they’re going to come over here regardless.”
KCTV5 News has reached out to a city councilmember about the process. We are waiting for a response. We do know they will discuss this further at next week’s council meeting.
“It’s a very historical area so there’s a lot that you can get out of it,” said Moreira.
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