KC’s citizens task force ready to get started making changes in community to reduce violence

KANSAS CITY, Mo. --  During the month of April, Kansas City is stepping up its awareness of child abuse as part of Child Abuse Prevention Month, as well as other violence in the metro.

Mayor Sly James hosted a news conference Thursday afternoon at the St. Mark Child and Family Development Center, 12th and Garfield, a facility that has been directly affected by violence.

The citizen's task force on violence gave the mayor an in-depth review of issues in the Kansas City community including active shooter situations, street crime, illegal use of weapons, domestic violence and child abuse.

The goal is to learn ways the city can better prevent and respond to violence.

"We heard what is happening on a day-to-day basis," Jolie Justus on the Kansas City Council. "We got a handle on everything that's already occurred in the community. One of the things I think we reached a consensus on pretty quickly is that Kansas City has all the tools right now to address these issues."

The task force is made up of citizens from a wide range of backgrounds rather than subject-matter experts to put a fresh set of eyes on the issues. The task force held 12 public meetings where subgroups were formed and additional meetings were held throughout 2016.

"All too often, people look at City Hall and the council and me as the solution to this problem," Kansas City Mayor Sly James said. "I've said time and time again and I'll say it time and time again in the future, there is no single person who can resolve this issue. There is no city Council, there's no mayor who's going to wave some sort of magic wand and make this go away."

The mayor adds the city plans to start working on the issues immediately.