New diverse group aims to tackle crime in Kansas City

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Dozens of activists, clergy, city leaders and concerned citizens gathered Thursday night with a common goal: develop ways to stomp out Kansas City's crime problem.

On April 5, 2014 Alonzo Thomas IV was shot and killed outside his family’s home near 71st and Wayne in Kansas City.

”It’s constant every day pain and struggle. You have your ups and downs. It’s an emotional roller coaster," Thomas' mother Monique Willis said.

Four years after losing her only child, her son’s murder is still unsolved.

”After four years, no witnesses, no information, nothing,” she said.

That’s why on Thursday the frustrated mom attended a meeting at Kansas City Police Department’s South Patrol Division.

Willis and more than 60 concerned citizens, clergy members, community activists and Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker packed a room to say they’re sick of all of the shootings, murders and other violent crimes happening in Kansas City.

Willis said the event was more that just talk.

”I think this meeting seemed a little different. It seemed a little bit more involved, more intense," she said.

Willis said the diverse group wants to see more church leaders and citizens active in neighborhoods, more witnesses turn in criminals and more programs aimed at getting to the root of crime.

”We have so many goals. Another one is to create a directory for organizations that are doing work in the community to not only curb crime, but to provide hope and opportunities for others,” said Alana Muller, the community development director for American Public Square.

The nonprofit group organized Thursday’s community meeting.

”Rather than being isolated doing good work, let’s work together. Let’s lock arms. Let’s move forward,” said Father Thomas Curran, who's also president of Rockhurst University.

It's a realistic goal, Willis said.

After her son’s murder, Willis started “Momma On A Mission,” a nonprofit group to assist families of homicide victims and raise awareness about crime.

”If we walk away from these meetings and take action and not just continuously sit in a meeting, I think it will make a difference,” she said.

For more information or if you’d like to join the group, visit this site.

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