KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Violent crime continues to plague Kansas City, Missouri with 20 homicides already committed in the city this year, an uptick from previous years.
To help reverse that trend, a new group — the Kansas City Violence and Response Team Network — has formed and hopes to make an impact.
Members will respond to crime scenes and offer support to the families impacted by violence.
“What we want to do is provide an extra layer of love for those people who are hurting,” said Aim4Peace member Nephiateri Hill, whose organization is among the founding groups for the new violence-response team.
More than a dozen concerned community members, mental health specialists, and clergy members gathered Saturday for the new group's first violence-response team training session.
“(Violence) is running rampant, so we need to do something to stop the violence in our community," volunteer Cornelius Carey said. "Whatever we need to do, we need to do something and so we’re all here to talk about it."
Healing Pathways Executive Director Monica Roberts added, “None of us are immune to violence. It impacts all of us each day."
Volunteers will be responsible for going out to crime scenes on a rotating basis to offer prayer and support for grieving families. The training teaches them to know what to say and what not to say at a crime scene, being mindful to provide comfort and show a community's compassion.
“When we work together and pull our resources together, that’s when we truly see a difference," Roberts said. "But if we stay in our own sections, we are not going to see an impact."
Carey agreed that teamwork and collaboration is key: “It takes all of us coming together and working together to get this solved."
The volunteers with the Kansas City Violence and Response Team Network hope to conduct monthly meetings and gradually help reduce the rising tide of homicides.
“Doing nothing does nothing, so we have to do something,” Hill said.
Additional volunteers are welcome, but all crime-scene responders must go through training. Call 816-497-4886 or send email to the Concerned Clergy Coalition of Kansas City at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in joining.