New anti-violence group works to develop strategy aimed at minimizing crime amid growing trend

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas City's newly formed Code Against Violence And Crime group held it's second meeting on Thursday evening to work towards tackling a growing problem in their community.

"We’re hoping to work with the new chief to try to reduce those number of homicides and come up with real strategic plans to make sure our community is safe," said Ron Hunt, President of the Code Against Crime & Violence.

KCPD Deputy Chief Karl Oakman led the meeting with an overview of recent crime stats. In his report Oakman noted that the city's homicide rate stands at 98 for the year, and roughly one-third of victims are between ages 17 - 24.

"It was shocking for me the number of rapes, the robberies, the homicides and we really need to get a hold of this thing because without that information it doesn't give you any charge," said KC resident Ossco Bolton.

Another big topic of concern is the recent uptick in shootings in Westport.

"In the Westport area, we’ve had multiple shootings in the past two months, and we would like to sit down with [Chief Smith] and our city council person to make that area an entertainment zone where you won’t be allowed to carry guns, because guns and alcohol don’t mix," Hunt explained.

Business owners within that district say they've been working towards that same goal for years.

"Every year at the end of the year we review what happened and make recommendations for things that we can tighten up. This year was privatizing the streets to stay ahead of the gun laws," said Westport property owner Bill Nigro.

Many attending Thursday evenings meeting feel that increasing safety in local neighborhoods will take time, but they're optimistic that with more communication between the police and the community, we can all work towards making the streets more safe.

"Everybody is really tired of the senseless killing in our city. Saying nothing is saying a lot," said Hunt.

Code Against Violence And Crime organizers invited KCPD Chief Rick Smith to attend the meeting, but he was unable to make it to the event.