KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Several groups working to bring peace to Kansas City, Missouri, hope signs displaying a clear message will help.
Since November, the groups have placed yard signs at the scenes of all 174 of the city’s homicides with the words “Do Not Murder” in bold across the middle.
The Church of Scientology in Kansas City, the inter-faith organization United in Peace Foundation and Kansas City Councilman Brandon Ellington, who is not a Scientologist, have partnered to put the signs in place.
“It was kind of sending [people who live near homicide scenes] a message that, ‘Hey we don’t want this here either. No one in the city wants this.’ The whole idea is to bring people together,” explained Bennette Seaman, the public relations officer for the Church of Scientology in Kansas City.
She explained the church had a “Way to Happiness KC” plan in motion when it learned how the United in Peace Foundation had successfully used signs to bridge divides in Los Angeles. So the two organizations partnered to bring signs to Kansas City.
Locally, the councilman got on board with the message.
Seaman said the goal is to show communities and people who are starting to veer from the straight and narrow that organizations and groups care about them, can offer them guidance, and, over time, rally the entire city to work toward peace.
“You need to help the people around you because the people around you affect your life. If you can get the people around you doing better, then you’re also doing better,” Seaman pointed out.
Ellington and the church have also participated in peace rides and food distribution events. They understand yard signs alone won’t turn the tide in a year where Kansas City set a record for most homicides.
Do not murder is number eight of 21 precepts listed in the book “The Way to Happiness” written by the founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard.
Seaman said Hubbard wrote the book for people of all religions; it is not specific to Scientology. She asked people not to rush to judgment about Scientology’s involvement in the campaign, encouraging them to reach out to learn more. She said the church simply partnering with non-Scientology organizations on a common goal of making the city safer.
For jurisdictions that utilize the Greater Kansas City Crime Stoppers Tips Hotline, anonymous tips can be made by calling 816-474-TIPS (8477), submitting the tip online or through the free mobile app at P3Tips.com.