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Top two candidates for Kansas City’s top cop talk crime with Eastside community

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas City Police and Mayor Sly James visited one of the city’s most troubled neighborhoods Wednesday night hoping to curb a trend of growing violence.

Kansas City crime maps show Blue Valley Court and Hilltop Townhomes have had 50 violent crimes in the past six months. In June a 7-year-old girl was shot by a child under 10 during an argument. In October 2016, a boy, 3, was shot and killed when his brother got a hold of a gun.

Mayor James and police command staff went door to door handing out gun locks and ice cream bars to parents and kids on Wednesday night.

They also answered neighbor’s questions about what could be done to improve life in the area at a meeting at the Police Athletic League.

Neighbors said they felt abandoned by city leaders. One put a photo of trash building up at homes along Topping Avenue in front of the Mayor.

“It’s parents getting involved, churches getting involved, everyone coming together the city getting involved because a lot of our children are crying out because we aren’t paying attention,” Rachel Riley, president of the East 23rd Neighborhood Association, said.

“It’s something that is concerning and I think we need to bring awareness to it as well as let them know we are here to assist the community, we are here to serve the community, not to put them in jail and always to be the anti-force, but to work with them," Deputy Chief Karl Oakman said.

Chief Darryl Forte came up with the idea to have more community engagement before his retirement. Kansas City Police and Mayor James plans to have one more community event like this north of the river sometime soon.

Both of the finalists to replace Chief Forte's were at the community meeting. Norman, Oklahoma Police Chief Keith Humphrey and Kansas City Police Major Rick Smith will appear at a public forum at 6 p.m. Thursday at KCPD Headquarters, which will be streamed on FOX 4's Facebook page and fox4kc.com.