Raytown picnic celebrates success of anti-crime tax initiatives

RAYTOWN, Mo. -- Hundreds of people gathered in Raytown Saturday afternoon to celebrate lives being changed for the better.

Jackson County COMBAT hosted a free family picnic complete with food and entertainment.  COMBAT stands for community backed anti-crime tax.  The organization says it has successfully used a quarter-cent sales tax to fund dozens of community efforts aimed at substance abuse and crime prevention.  This weekend's picnic was designed to help raise awareness of the program and celebrate the hundreds of people impact by those efforts.

"You're going to be very hard pressed to find a family that hasn't been touched by substance abuse or violence or crime.  Our crime rate is out of control right now.  So for all of us, using our theme of hear our voices, we need to hear the voices of the community who have been impacted and also the agencies who are there and willing to help treat them and usher their families through this epidemic that we find ourselves in," said Teesha Miller, Jackson Co. COMBAT director.

COMBAT Jackson County has been around more than 30 years, and voters recently approved renewing the tax that supports its programs and efforts through partner agencies.