If you want to cut the crime rate, area police chiefs said, see to it that more teenagers graduate from high school.
According to a study released Monday, about 100 murders a year could be prevented in Missouri and Kansas combined if the percentage of teens who graduate on time went up by 10 percentage points. The number of aggravated assaults would fall by 6,100, researchers found.
Law enforcement officials gathered downtown Monday to speak for the study by Fight Crime: Invest in Kids. The national nonprofit lobbying group includes more than 4,000 police chiefs, sheriffs, district attorneys and violence survivors.
Kansas Attorney General Steve Six, Kansas City Police Chief James Corwin, Overland Park Chief John Douglass and Lenexa Chief Ellen Hanson urged states to spend more money for preschool programs like Head Start.
"Almost all the criminals we see started out as children who needed help early in life," Douglass said.
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