In the South part of Kansas City there have been more burglaries committed in daytime than in darker hours the first months of this year. Police are using those figures to argue for change in city ordinance.
Update: The Kansas City Council, on May 24th, approved changes in the ordinance dealing with disorderly conduct-prowling as reflected in the story below.
On its face, the crime of disorderly conduct by prowling and peeping in windows may sound uncomplicated, almost unimportant. Yet police say it's often a prelude to breakins of homes and businesses.
Police Sergeant Rodney Gentry put his case to the City Council Public Safety and Emergency Services panel, citing 78 overnight burglaries this year in South Patrol District alone, and well over 151 in daytime. The hours someone can be charged with prowling are specific to night time and the building has to be occupied or "habitable."
Gentry said the idea to change wording came up as a prolific band of burglars were set free. He said someone discovered the daytime casing of houses wasn't illegal.
Councilman Scott Wagner said the word "habitable" leaves out houses for sale or in foreclosure. Thus, two changes of language would be necessary.
Wagner said, "we don't want to make the mistake that some Council did decades ago when they put 'in the night time' " in the local law.
The Councilman added his colleagues should--" add a change that allows us to deal with homes and businesses and structures under any circumstances, inhabited, uninhabited, but habitable."
The measure passed Council Committee without dissent.
Should it pass in full Council later today, the action would change a 45 year old ordinance.