Truce among gangs set to end; KC leaders work toward another

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Community and church leaders in the urban core are meeting with street gang members today to try to forge an agreement that will stop murders caused by gang fighting. The grassroots groups credit a truce for making the streets safer so far this year.

Community United says a truce among 13 major street gangs in Kansas City ends at the end of May. And neighborhood leaders tell FOX 4 News they fear without another agreement, we’ll see a jump in drive-by shootings and innocent victims caught in the crossfire of gang violence.

Members of the umbrella group for urban core organizations say the last gang-related shooting in Kansas City happened in January and resulted in retaliatory shootings, where the city had 7 victims in the span of 48 hours.

Church leaders and outreach groups in the urban core don’t want to see that again. That’s why they’re meeting with gang leaders later today to offer them a law-abiding path to lead their lives.

Members say the mayor’s plan to open Club KC is a good start for younger children, but active gang members typically are between 16 and 19 years old and some claim there’s not much support for teens in that age group.

“If you tell them to stop doing the economics they’ve been doing, we have to replace that with something,” said Tony Caldwell of Community United. “Housing, food, jobs. They still need to live. If we take something away we need to replace it with something. So that’s what we’re looking for today.”

Caldwell says often people will say, “Let the gangs shoot each other, it doesn’t affect me.”
But too often innocent lives are touched when hoodlums spray bullets in a neighborhood and kill someone they didn’t intend to shoot.

Urban core community and church organizations will meet with gang leaders tonight at 6:30 p.m. in the Fine Arts Center at 31st and Troost. They hope to receive commitments from the street gangs that will help make inner city neighborhoods safer.

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