Northeast KC residents clearing out alleys to deter crime, encourage positive foot traffic

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Communities in Northeast Kansas City are attempting to deter crime by cleaning up.

Alleyway renovations are happening in both residential and commercial areas.

"One alley at a time, we're cleaning it of debris, trash, and illegal activities," said Bobbi Baker-Hughes, Northeast Kansas City Chamber of Commerce president and CEO and manager of the Independence Avenue Improvement District.

Work is currently being done to clean up the 17 alleyways that run parallel to Independence Avenue.

The man focus is to keep the areas clean.

"We are usually out there doing a major alley and major clean-ups twice a month. But we are out there doing minor clean-ups on a more regular basis," Hughes said.

Neighbors are also taking interest and starting a similar initiative in Pendleton Heights.

A recent $5,000 grant from the Missouri Department of Conservation funded the beautification of the alleys in that area for the next two years.

"Ideally, we'd love to work with neighbors to create more spaces like that and make more place-making and create places for neighbors to come together," said Holly Oden, president of the PH Neighborhood Association.

Some Pendleton Heights alleys are now decorated with lights, fresh mulch, murals and perfectly trimmed trees. The alleys are also named with colored signs.

The goal of these projects is to encourage positive foot traffic and lessen crime.

Some city leaders, like Baker-Hughes, said they're already noticing improvements.

"If we can keep it clear, it is less motivation for the next dumper to dump on clean space or do something illegal," Baker-Hughes said. "We can utilize our alleys if they are well lit, they are clean, and people feel safe."

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