Crime-fighting tool bans career criminals fro - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Crime-fighting tool bans career criminals from high-crime areas

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Career criminals are on a blacklist of sorts in Kansas City.

It's called a restriction zone and it bans known repeat offenders from entering certain high-crime areas.

The Armour Boulevard Restriction Zone is bound by Walnut Street on the west and The Paseo on the east, 33rd Street on the north and 37th Street on the south.

When someone known for committing crimes over and over again is placed on the list, they cannot enter the area and, if police catch them entering or in it, their probation can be revoked and they can be sentenced to jail time.

"We are hearing a lot more gunfire in the neighborhood. There has been a lot more break-ins, home invasions," said David Albright, a Hyde Park neighborhood resident back in 2009.

In 2009 neighbors were fed up with high crime rates near Armour Boulevard. Police and an assistant city prosecutor created a restriction zone to keep repeat offenders out of the area.

"It essentially was in place for about a year and a half. There was very positive feedback from the community and police and then it sort of faded out," said assistant city prosecutor Abby Mueller.

The restriction zone project may have faded away, but crime did not. In 2013 police were called to a former apartment building at 525 E. Armour Blvd. 111 times. The building now sits empty.

"Police approached me with 'could we revive this restriction zone?'" Mueller said.

With the restriction zones now back in place, police and city prosecutors identified 13 people as repeat offenders in the Armour Boulevard area. Currently three people are banned from entering the area. The rest of the people on the list are waiting for their day in court.

Neighbor Janet Ross said she supports the use of the restriction zone, but says police and prosecutors can't reduce the high crime rate without the help of low-income housing landlords.

"They need to become honest landlords and take care of their properties. It's not safe for the neighbors or the people who are living in those apartments," Ross said.

Neighbors hope they will continue to see positive change in the historic Kansas City community.

Prosecutors said they cannot release the name of the banned criminals because it is for law enforcement use only. They did say that of the three people who are currently banned, one person is headed to court for a probation violation hearing for being back in the area.

Police also set up restriction zones near 27th Street and Prospect Avenue, the Independence Avenue area and the 39th Street Corridor.

Former Kansas City Police Chief James Corwin and former assistant city prosecutor Todd Wilcher initiated the restriction zone project. At the time in 2009 there were six homicides that happened inside the small Armour Boulevard Zone.

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