Kansas City, Mo., is on track to be have its deadliest year on record for the city with nearly 100 homicides so far this year.
The youngest and most recent homicide was a 4-year-old boy who was shot after someone fired a gun into the apartment building around 2:30 a.m. on June 29 while he slept. Police officials believe the apartment was purposefully targeted.
According to a local report, the 4-year-old was the 95th homicide reported this year.
This time last year, Kansas City had reported 67 homicides. By the end of the year, the city had a total of 153 killings.
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This year is currently also outpacing 2017, which is the deadliest year on record, with 155 homicides.
More people have already been killed in Kansas City this year than in all of 2014, which saw 86 homicides, according to a report by a local news outlet, The Kansas City Star.
Just halfway through the year, the city has reported more people killed this year than in 2002, 1984, 1973 and 1972.
According to investigations completed by the paper, more than 80 killings this year have been carried out by a firearm.
A police department spokesperson also confirmed for the publication that Kansas City has “never had this many” homicides in a year.
Nonfatal shootings have also increased significantly this year, and 315 survivors of shooting attacks have been left with “physical and psychological injuries.” Twenty percent of this year’s shootings happened in May with 82 people having been shot – a reported 75 percent increase from this time last year.
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Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker, who helped to develop the Kansas City No Violence Alliance, told the publication that the program aims to curb urban violence by reaching out to the violence-prone communities, and show them they have the option to change their lifestyle or go to jail.
Baker also said that the program showed results in 2014, the year that saw 14 fewer annual homicides, than in the first half of this year. But the police department reportedly scrapped the program after homicides went up in 2015.
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Security and violence professionals do not appear to know why violence is on the sharp incline.
But Damon Daniel, president of the Ad Hoc Group Against Crime, told the publication he believes it ultimately has to do with mental health issues like anxiety and depression along substance abuse.