Residents ‘not surprised’ to hear violent crime is up in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- For almost 40 years, Gloria Starks has lived in the heart of Kansas City's Prospect Corridor. She said decades ago, the area used to be pretty peaceful, but now it's been tarnished by gunfire, robberies and other violent crime.

The 78-year-old and her daughter are sick of it all.

"It's getting to where you don't even wan to go to shopping centers anymore. The gunshots make you scared to get out of your car. You're constantly looking around. Every move you make you got to watch your back," Starks said.

"The murders are just constant. People just don't have any regard for human life," said Starks' daughter, Tonya Higgins.

On Friday, during a packed meeting at Kansas City Police Headquarters, the U.S. Attorney's Office shared a disturbing trend with cops, citizens and other community leaders. The FBI's latest statistics show violent crime has steadily increased in Kansas City for the last 5 years.

"That's pretty messed up because I feel like these people aren't taking life seriously," business owner and community activist Kevin Roberson said.

Roberson owns a convenience store near 53rd and Prospect. It's just down the street from J's Fish and Chicken Market where, in July, a 25-year-old UMKC student who worked there was shot and killed during an attempted robbery.

"It's bad enough to where people don't want to come and shop in this area. Yes, it's affecting my business," Roberson said.

Many people who live in the crime-infested areas said they'd like to see more police officers patrolling their neighborhoods on a regular basis.

Others insisted the violent crime won't end until cops and citizens build better relationships and work together.

"That will require both sides being active and not just words," Higgins said.

"I was born in this area. This is my community. I believe we can turn it around," Roberson said.

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