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Blue Valley neighborhood tackles crime: "You've got to try"

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Posted at 9:48 PM, Apr 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-19 22:48:33-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — If you ask Johnny Burris why he has stayed on his block of 27th Terrace for 40 years, you'll get a multi-faceted response.

"Well, I got to know everybody," he begins. "And I've been here so long I just don't want to move," the answer ends.

But over the years, his block in the Blue Valley neighborhood has changed. The sound of his wife and kids, replaced by the sound of gunfire.

"I don't like walking outside and hearing gunshots, because one of those bullets might be headed for me," Burris said.

41 Action News saw the aftermath of some of that gunfire on Sunday, when a caller reported 20-30 shots fired at the Blue Valley Court Townhouses at 23rd and Wheeling. No one was hurt, but bullet holes scarred cars and buildings.

For the people who live in the area, such sights and sounds are becoming the norm.

"You hear the gunfire every day. That's no good," resident Dale Walker said.

Walker is the president of the Blue Valley Neighborhood Association. At a meeting, Thursday night, 16 people and their concerns packed a small room at 15th and Van Brunt.

The gunfire was top of mind for those present, and they had a lot of questions about crime for their KCPD community officer.

Walker was encouraged by the turnout.

"It says that people are concerned, but we need everyone. We need everyone in the city to help us with our problems," he said.

As Walker works to recruit more members, change is coming to Burris' block. That's where nonprofit Tikkun-KC has purchased and restored dilapidated homes. 

An empty lot across from Burris will soon become a community garden. He hopes along with it comes a return to Blue Valley, where he started his family 40 years ago.

"Maybe if enough of us get to thinking about it, maybe we can make a difference. The main concern is caring about your neighbors. That's what makes a difference in the world," Burris said.

If you are interested in joining the Blue Valley Neighborhood Association, you can find contact information for the group here.