KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas Citians are banding together to protect their community against crime.
On behalf of the Justice and Dignity Center, Tony Caldwell shared the group’s plan to stop violence, murders and sex trafficking, with an emphasis on improving the process of reporting missing persons, at a public press conference Saturday.
“The Justice Center is here to offer solutions — not just talk about the problem but offer actual solutions,” Caldwell said.
Part of the plan includes creating an app to report anyone who may be missing.
Caldwell contributes inspiration for the idea to the inability of the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department to take missing persons reports for those who may not have a full name or who may only be known by a nickname.
Thus, the group created the app to allow the community to submit a missing report with information such as nicknames, known whereabouts and unique markings.
Other app users can then respond and provide real-time information to a “mass army” where “hundreds of eyes” can much more efficiently locate individuals.
“Our gift to Kansas City,” Caldwell said. “… If nobody’s going to protect us, we need to protect us ourselves.”
For years, Caldwell says a "dark cloud" of violence has hung over the city.
In an effort to initiate change, Caldwell says the group is committing to investing money, time and effort to expand the set of "eyes and ears" on the streets.
By addressing the problem and making the group's presence known to traffickers and criminals, Caldwell believes fewer people, especially Black women, will be taken and forced into a life of sex trafficking.
Without giving away too much, he shared the group has been in contact with the Department of Justice, claiming the group is aware of specific locations and individuals involved in sex trafficking.
In addition to the missing persons app, a second app is in the works to connect the community to resources.
Through the Justice Center’s collaboration with over 114 organizations, a vetted list of active services, such as hot meals and housing, will be made available.
Both apps will go live to the public in February, per Caldwell. The names of the apps have yet to be released.
Moving forward, Caldwell says the group was contacted by KCPD about setting up a time to discuss how the two entities can work together.
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.