After deadly year, Kansas City leaders focused on slowing violent crime in 2022

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Curbing violent crime in the new year is a top priority for city leaders and the loved ones of victims in Kansas City, Missouri. The last two years have been the two deadliest on record, and 2021 still isn’t over yet.

Aubrey Williams is the father of one 2021 homicide victim. He spent Christmas Day outside Ward Parkway Lanes, the place where his son was shot and killed earlier this year.

“I went there, and I sat there for like three hours and I just sobbed,” Williams said. “It just hurt.”

So far this year 158 people have been killed in Kansas City, Missouri. Williams will tell you it’s not just a number.

“It’s just devastating and we have to do something,” he said.

Someone shot and killed Williams’ son Avery in October.

The 21-year-old was on a double date at Ward Parkway Lanes, according to family. He and two friends were parked outside the bowling alley when someone outside the car fired shots.

“We still have a lot of questions unanswered,” Williams said.

The case is unsolved, and his son’s killer is still on the loose.

“I don’t want him or her or them to feel like they can go on and continue to commit crimes and murder people without any consequences behind it,” Williams said. “This city, it seems like there’s a lot of violence in this city and a lot of unnecessary violence.”

Last year, Kansas City saw its deadliest year to date with 179 homicides. The year, 2021 is already the second deadliest on record.

Mayor Quinton Lucas said gun violence remains the biggest issue heading into the new year, aside from the ongoing pandemic.

“We are willing to work with anyone on all the solutions we can have to addressing violent crime long-term,” Lucas said.

Kansas City police Sgt. Jake Becchina said that type of change takes collaboration.

“Communities that are willing to stand up against violence in their community — they have a partner in us,” Becchina said. “And we stand up against violence in every community every day and will continue to do that.”

Police have solved and cleared 91 homicides this year, just less than 60%, according to KCPD’s online records.

Williams is one of those still waiting for justice. Meantime, he seeks peace through prayer.

“I just have to pray constantly and just try to remember the good things with me and Avery,” Williams said.

If you have information about Avery’s homicide or any other unsolved homicide, call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-8477. You can remain anonymous and the right information could get you $25,000.

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