By: Brian Evans

Sadly, when comparing Joplin crime statistics from 20 years ago to today, our violent crimes are up, which includes murder, rape, robberies, and assaults. In fact, Joplin violent crime rates are higher than that of Missouri, and the United States in general. 

Property crimes are down slightly, but only slightly.

The question is why? Sadly, it doesn’t take much investigative work to fully understand the reasoning behind this trend. In fact, Joplin like most cities suffers from a problem that has plagued cities across our nation in recent years. In fact, it has to do with two major factors… 

  1. A lack of competitive Police pay.
  2. A newfound lack of respect for our men and women in uniform.

These two factors have conjunctively led to a severe shortage of Police officers in our American cities. 

In Joplin, we are fortunate to have widespread support of our Police officers by Joplin residents. However, our city government has failed to implement an increase in their pay, which would make Joplin competitive with other cities. This lack of funding has led to too many officers choosing to retire early, others leaving the force for other lines of work, and some even choosing to move to less desirable cities where they are disrespected, simply out of a necessity to support and provide for their families.

The President of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) in Southwest Missouri Lodge 27 and 20 year JPD veteran spoke at the December 6th City Council meeting, where he was advocating for better compensation for the Joplin Police officers. He also pointed out how their overtime pay should be restored, and explained why. KRPS detailed his concerns that he stated to the council, noting that he said…

“I was recently told about a conversation between two younger officers in our department. One of the officers said to the other, I don’t want to end up like older guys. Those guys are staying with Joplin because they don’t want to lose their pension. I have to get out of here before I get stuck.”

Sadly, this simply further highlights some of the major problems with Joplin’s ‘Public Safety’ concerns.

 Recently, we passed Proposition B, which was designed to fully fund the cities Police and Fire Pension accounts, which was said to help retain police and fire officials.

However, retirement still is lacking, and money that was discussed to give out raises to Police, Fire, and EMS, in order to make them more competitive with other cities, went out in an across the board raise in pay for all city officials, rather than making Police, Fire, and EMS pay competitive, and then distributing the remaining funds to other city employees. This action showed a lack of prioritization for  public safety by our city!

Although it is important for all city employees pay to remain competitive in todays economy, it is even more critical to ensure that those whom we place our lives in the hands of, such as those who place their lives on the line  EVERY DAY, are compensated with a reasonable pay and benefits for themselves, and so they can easily take care of their families. Until we do that, Joplin will continue to lose officers, and lose the battle to make Joplin safe!

Sadly, one of the two major factors in Joplin’s increased crime rates, primarily violent crimes, is the direct result of national political initiatives like closing down of our nation’s oil and gas pipelines, and instead investing in foreign oil, which has driven oil and gas prices upwards, leading to rising energy prices for families living on an already tight budget, and higher transportation of goods and services, which causes increased prices at the stores. Combine that with multiple trillions of dollars in national debt spending by our congressional leaders, lockdowns by government bureaucrats, massive increases in regulation by the President, tens of thousands of Americans thrown out of jobs for not taking the Covid-19 vaccine, Americans losing jobs to illegal aliens, and now we are experiencing massive stagflation, skyrocketing grocery bills, exorbitant building costs, understaffed hospitals and medical facilities due to mandated COVID-19 vaccine terminations, outrageous rent and home prices, and a growing homeless and beggar population across this nation, and within our city limits as well!

This crisis is now being combined with a growing disrespect for our men and women in uniform, which is flaunted by many of our leaders in Washington D.C who call for the dismantling of our Police Departments, by left-wing groups who preach hate towards our First Responders, and by too many in our media who use their bully pulpit to demonize those who are trying to protect and serve our cities, towns, and nation!

Therefore, with the combination of self-inflicted poverty and anti-Police hate coming from our political leaders and media organizations, mixed with a lack of financial support for our local Police, Fire, and Emergency Medical Services, it’s not surprising that Joplin is suffering from a steady increase in crime, especially violent crime in recent years!

Ultimately, in order to solve this crisis, it is immensely important to tackle this problem with a multi-pronged approach, and with all parties involved within our city to find a solution! I myself would like the Council to meet with the Police, FOP (Fraternal Order of the Police), Fire Department, and EMS to find out what options are available to resolve any and all retention issues. I would like to see the findings made public, to reassure the public that the City Council will be held accountable to the residents of our city, in regards to the promises made, and final outcome. 

My goals will include:

  1. Making Police, Fire, and EMS pay highly competitive with other cities and towns.
  2. Ensure that the Police, Fire, and EMS are able to have personal interactions with the children of Joplin, to help make lasting friendships, and to show them that they are here to protect and serve our community.

If we can work cooperatively to find key ways to fully fund and appropriately pay our men and women in uniform, we will be able to not only make Joplin strong, but we can make it safer for our children, our families, our neighborhoods, and our community once again!