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Scarritt Renaissance neighborhood unites to reduce crime

Homes in KCMO's Scarritt Renaissance neighborhood
Posted at 10:24 PM, Mar 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-02 23:48:57-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department investigates five homicides in two days, officers said one neighborhood might have found the key to reducing crime and solving cases.

Detectives are contacting witnesses after two people were killed Monday night in a shooting and fiery crash along Anderson Avenue near Norton Avenue. Investigators believe a suspect or suspects fired multiple rounds at a car – leading to the crash.

Police are confident residents in the Scarritt Renaissance neighborhood will help them find answers.

"This neighborhood is one to be proud of, one to be an example of as far as the neighborhood standing up against crime, coming forward as witnesses," KCPD Sgt. Jake Becchina said. "We expect to have a lots of good witnesses in this. We got lots of 911 calls."

Karen Donnelly and her family moved to the Scarritt Renaissance neighborhood in spring 2014. She feels safer now than ever before.

"We look out for each other and to work with local police representatives and local prosecutors to really go after property crime and make sure we all as a neighborhood feel safe," Donnelly said.

Those who live in the neighborhood said the atmosphere improved when the neighborhood association began a virtual block watch. More than 500 residents have signed up to receive email and/or text alerts via One Call Now when something is going on in their area.

Jeff Linville, president of the Scarritt Renaissance Neighborhood Association, said a coordinator takes reports of suspicious activity.

"Then we can work with the police and then feed that to the police," Linville said.

That collaboration with law enforcement has pushed out most of the criminal activity.

"Not even three years ago, you wouldn't see people walking the sidewalks," Linville said. "Now you see families, you see baby strollers."

With crime decreasing, more people want to live in Scarritt Renaissance. Linville said there is new home construction – something he hasn't seen in decades .

"Because they love the neighborhood. They love the diversity of it," Linville said. "They love the homes, they love the parks. So that's really, you know, what gives everybody their resilience and willingness to try to improve the neighborhood."

They're now focusing on preventative measures, but said it's tough when some crime isn't predictable.

"We've always been open to and willing to do anything we can to make this a better place," Donnelly said.