KCPD, Community Groups Launch New Anti-Violence Campaign

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Police, prosecutors and community groups officially launched a new effort to curb violence in Kansas City on Wednesday, a day after a warrant sweep put 17 violent crime suspects behind bars.

The Kansas City No Violence Alliance, or NOVA, is a program designed to crack down hard on criminals, but offer hope and a new life for those willing to change.

"I can't think of  a better day than today to launch KC NOVA as bloody as our streets have been in the last 24 hours," said Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker on Wednesday morning.

Officials say that Tuesday's crackdown and arrest of 17 people is just part of the plan. The criminal network targeted on Tuesday has 360 people in it - 220 with active warrants, and police are calling that a small group.

But police say that not all of the suspects are beyond redemption. KC NOVA is aiming to provide services and support to turn people away from crime.

"We've had enough," said Kansas City Missouri Mayor Sly James. "We're calling you out, given you a chance to redeem yourself. And if you don't we'll put your butt in jail."

To help be proactive, the UMKC Department of Criminal Justice helped police map out the criminal networks in Kansas City. UMKC assistant professor of Criminal Justice Andrew Fox says that police are already out on the streets making these connections everyday.

"What I've done is helping connect the information they've done over the last few years to get a picture of the social structure of these groups look like," said Fox.

This network will help police by giving them people they can talk to when crime happens.

But another part of the puzzle is to actually prosecute the bad guys - and Peters Baker says that to make that happen, they need people willing to testify in court.

"We need witnesses in the court room, we need people to talk to the police," said Peters Baker.

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