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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


JOHN F. WOOD


Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html


APRIL 2, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


NATIONAL CRIME VICTIMS RIGHTS WEEK


U.S. ATTORNEY LAUDS WORK OF

KC CRIME COMMISSION


            KANSAS CITY, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that the Kansas City Metropolitan Crime Commission was honored today as the recipient of the 2008 Crystal Kipper & Ali Kemp Memorial Award.


            The award is presented by the U.S. Attorney’s Office each year during the local observance of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week to recognize the outstanding work of an individual or organization in protecting children from exploitation. A commemorative event for the upcoming National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (April 14-18) will also be held on April 17, 2008, at Ilus W. Davis Park. That event will include a walk around the downtown government district in honor of crime victims and a self-defense demonstration from the Ali Kemp Educational Foundation, along with other speakers and activities.


            Rick Easley, president of the Crime Commission, accepted this year’s award on behalf of the organization. The Crime Commission’s mission is to support local law enforcement and other justice agencies to make Kansas City a safe place to live and work. The Crime Commission is a non-profit citizen's organization supported by contributions, with a board of directors comprised of volunteer business and civic leaders from across Kansas City.


            “The Crime Commission is an invaluable partner in several significant initiatives with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Project Safe Childhood and Project CeaseFire,” said Wood. “Thanks to their commitment to public safety and crime prevention, our community is a safer place.”


            “The Crystal Kipper & Ali Kemp Memorial Award is well-deserved recognition for the impressive accomplishments of the Crime Commission,” Wood added. “We appreciate the many volunteers who devote countless hours, the contributors who support the programs, and the leadership of the board members.”


            Among the Crime Commission’s most well-known programs is the Crime Stoppers 474-TIPS Hotline Program, where anonymous tips solve over 1,000 felony cases each year, including child exploitation crimes. In April 2008, the Crime Stopper Program will exceed $1 million dollars in total rewards paid out for information leading to the arrests of felons wanted throughout the Kansas City area.

 

            Last summer, following the tragic abduction and murder of 18-year-old Kelsey Smith in Overland Park, the Hot Line received 639 tips during the month of June. The highest volume of tips taken for one case in one day was set during this investigation with over 160 reports in one shift. Two hot line tips aided in the arrest of the suspect in the case, and the tipsters shared in a $27,000 reward.


            The Crime Stopper Tips Hotline also provided law enforcement with tips that ultimately led to an arrest in the Ali Kemp homicide investigation. Today, the Crime Commission has an ongoing partnership with Roger Kemp and the Ali Kemp Foundation. The foundation’s T.A.K.E. Defense program, which serves as a legacy to Ali's life, has trained over 20,000 girls and women ages 12 years and older with free safety awareness and hands-on self defense training. T.A.K.E. Defense carries its message and training locally and across the United States each year to communities, colleges, and universities. The Crime Commission helps promote the program throughout the metropolitan area.


            The Crime Commission has contributed to the success of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative of the Department of Justice. It marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as identify and rescue victims. The local Safe Childhood public awareness campaign is known as INOBTR (pronounced “I Know Better”). The INOBTR campaign is designed to increase public awareness of online exploitation by promoting programs and tools to help protect children against online crimes while also engaging corporate and community leaders in the fight.


            In addition to these significant programs, the Crime Commission is involved in many other initiatives that aid the fight against child exploitation, including:


            * Save-a-Child program, which has fingerprinted hundreds of children for their parents.


            * Kansas City's Most Wanted, an eight-page newspaper featuring 70-80 wanted fugitives. It sells at nearly 100 area locations for $1 per copy. Anonymous tipsters can claim a cash reward if the information they provide leads the police to the fugitive. To date over 40 arrests have been made as a result of the newspaper, including sex offenders.


            * Working with Kansas City Public Television to produce a television show that focuses on wanted felons, including sex offenders, throughout the metropolitan area.


The Crystal Kipper & Ali Kemp Memorial Award


            Crystal Kipper was an 18-year-old Gladstone, Mo., resident who was murdered after her car broke down on Interstate 29, just north of Platte City, on Feb. 24, 1997. Ali Kemp was a 19-year-old Blue Valley North High School graduate who was murdered on June 18, 2002, while she worked at the Foxborough neighborhood swimming pool in Leawood, Kan.


            The parents of Kipper and Kemp participated in today’s presentation of the fifth annual Crystal Kipper & Ali Kemp Memorial Award to the Kansas City Metropolitan Crime Commission.


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This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html