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Organizations working to prevent violence say focus should be on positivity within neighborhoods

ivanhoe neighborhood
Posted at 6:22 PM, Oct 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-04 19:53:26-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Over the weekend, 13 people were shot in Kansas City.

KSHB 41 News created a map pointing to every location where violence broke out.

map of shootings
Map showing multiple shootings over one weekend.

Kansas City, Missouri, City Council member Ryana Parks-Shaw spoke out, referring to a city initiative to prevent violence, KC Blueprint.

"Trying to engage our youth, interacting with them in a way that will allow them to find other outlets, providing them with certain resources, some conflict resolution — things like that that will allow them to be able to find other resources so that we can prevent the gun violence, the violent crimes that we’re seeing in our city," Parks-Shaw said.

The Second Chance program, under the Metro Crime Commission umbrella, serves former convicts who maybe didn't have healthy outlets as kids. Their first goal is to find people jobs.

"A lot of times people are committing acts of violence or committing crimes simply because their needs are not met. They don't know how to navigate through different systems to be able to do things in a legitimate way," said Glenda Bell, resource specialist.

Bell said when people are incarcerated, it damages families and continues the cycle of violence.

"And when they're not there to give the kind of love and support a child needs in order to develop properly, you end up with a second-generation or third-generation," Bell said.

Front Porch Alliance is another group in the Blueprint. They work with children and families, and their goals are similar: helping families meet their basic needs.

"If they're able to get out whatever they're feeling, their frustrations and actually having their basic needs met, then we see that violence usually goes down for young people," said Je T'aime Taylor, Front Porch Alliance executive director.

Taylor said she's noticed a shift toward recognizing that at-risk neighborhoods already have strengths, but more work needs to be done.

"As a society, we always look at the hurting people and blame them for a lot of issues that are happening when they're just working out of their trauma and their hurts," Taylor said. "And one thing we need to focus on as a community, many of our leaders, what we all need to focus on is building relationships, collaborating with one another."

Taylor said it's important that neighbors get to decide and dictate what they need, rather than outside groups implanting themselves into communities.

The Blueprint is a health department initiative started in 2014. KSHB 41 News was told city leaders are still identifying strategies and presenting the plan to groups.

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.

Annual homicide details and data for the Kansas City area are available through the KSHB 41 News Homicide Tracker, which was launched in 2015. Read the KSHB 41 News Mug Shot Policy.