Neighbors of two young boys who were shot and killed while sleeping are taking strides to build relationships, prevent future crimes

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Homeowners in an east side neighborhood have been working to try to prevent another shocking killing on their block, in the six weeks since someone shot to death two young cousins inside their home.

Montell and Jayden

Montell and Jayden

Neighbors say 9-year-old Jayden Ugwuh and 8-year-old Montell Ross liked to play together on the corner of 58th Street and College Avenue.

The two boys were killed when a gunman sprayed bullets into the family home while they were sleeping. A teenage girl was also injured in the shooting.

Neighbors say they didn't know the boys very well, and that must change.

Their goal is to help neighbors get to know each other better and look out for one another when there might be trouble.

Community groups also have been working to get the city to commit to adding streetlights and video cameras to the block.

"I feel that people commit crime in our neighborhood," said Latonya Johnson, who's lived at 58th and College her entire life. "They dump trash because of the location. But crime is not about a location. Crime is about people and choices. We want to let it be known that we respect our neighborhood just as much as anyone else."

Johnson says when she can better see what's going on at night, criminals are likely to go elsewhere. And cameras deter problems like illegal dumping that often breed bigger crimes.

Though the boys' family has since moved away, the Ad Hoc Group Against Crime is helping people organize a neighborhood cookout next weekend, where there will be free food and entertainment.

The cousins' murders remain unsolved, but those who still must live on the block say by working together they can support each other in making sure such a horrible killing doesn't happen again.