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Efforts in KCMO neighborhood result in crime reduction

Posted at 6:04 PM, Aug 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-03 19:04:52-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In the last six months, the Manheim Park neighborhood has not had a shooting or a murder.

Bill Drummond, who sits on the board of the Historic Manheim Park Association, is one of the people responsible for the dip in crime the neighborhood has experienced. 

He told 41 Action News the tipping point came two years ago.

“We had shootings regularly; over 200 shots were fired within a block of where we are during a short time,” Drummond said.

Drummond sought the help of a special group of women. 

“The grandmothers are in the heart of every neighborhood. The grandmothers know what's happening, the grandmothers are often raising their own children's children. They know who are the bad actors, they know who are the good actors,” Drummond said.

With the neighborhood association, Drummond put in place practical solutions like neighborhood-owned cameras.

“This is not the camera from the store down the street. This is the neighborhood's camera. If it captures bad activity or unwanted activity it is the neighborhood who prosecutes,” Drummond explained.

Community partners like the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office have stepped up when the neighborhood can't go at it alone. 

“It only takes one or two people to really cause, to really make a neighborhood seem like it's not safe,” said Dan Krull, who manages the community garden located on Forest Avenue between 42nd and 43rd Streets.

The garden serves as Manheim Park's safe space.

“When I first started here this was all just grass, and we dug these two gardens last year and then we grew peas this spring and we grew corn over there. You can see the corn stubble left over,” Krull said.

Another safe space is at 40th and Troost, where the Charlotte Street Foundation, an organization that supports artists, has set up its “Neighborhood Artists Residency” program.

“When something occurs in a neighborhood that's disruptive, one more set of eyes as they say that views what happened or is aware is typical and what's not typical can be part of a conversation when things are disruptive,” said Selina ONeal, with the Charlotte Street Foundation.

In the midst of changing the neighborhood’s attitude, Drummond did face threats. 

But he said it was worth it.     

"There are still issues. This does not cure everything, but it does solve a major component,” Drummond said.