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Optimism continues for crime prevention fund as UMKC investigators provide progress on program

Misty Campbell
Posted at 11:44 AM, May 10, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Five months ago, KSHB 41's Megan Abundis highlighted the crime prevention fund.

It’s a team of UMKC investigators who will evaluate various crime prevention programs and nonprofits across Kansas City, Missouri.

Each of the programs received a portion of the city’s $30 million to help curb violence.

"We don’t want programs to fail; we want them to get better," said Dr. Marijana Kotlaja, an investigator with the violence prevention fund.

Investigators like Kotlaja are tasked with tracking two dozen crime prevention programs and measuring their successes.

“We have never engaged in a comprehensive evaluation of programs at this level," said Misty Campbell, who works on the violence prevention fund evaluation team.

Kotlaja said it's unheard to have so many different entities working toward the same goal.

“It’s people that would never be in the same spot,” Kotlaja said.

On Thursday, that changed — many of those programs gathered together in one place for a luncheon, sharing data, ideas, and connecting.

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“Second Chances, Capital Community Fund, KC Common Good, neighborhoods associations, youth service providers," Campbell said.

Everyone in the room says they're working on KCMO's crime problem because they care.

The research part hopes to help these groups look at what’s being accomplished versus what’s being done.

“In criminal justice, a lot of the time we focus on what we’re doing, and not always what we are achieving," Campbell said. "So for us, evolution is about determining what are the results of what we’re doing? How do we amplify what’s going well? And how do we provide support and resources in areas where we could use improvement?"

Those involved in the initiative call this meet-up momentum; momentum towards change and a safer KC.

Where investigators hope to empower these groups to make their models stronger.

“We know that together we have the potential to really reduce violence in KC,” Campbell said.

This is a five-year commitment to these programs.

More information on how they are tracking these programs can be found below: