KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City leaders met Friday with their counterparts from Omaha, Nebraska, to learn new strategies for reducing gun violence.
In the last 15 years, Omaha has reduced the number of shootings by 74% and its homicide rate is at the lowest level in 30 years.
That’s gotten the attention of leaders in Kansas City, who want to see if what has worked in Omaha can work here.
Omaha police make arrests in 80% of their homicide cases, while at the same time officer involved shootings have dropped 90% during the last 10 years.
Omaha leaders said the key has been working to establish partnerships in all neighborhoods of the city that build trust.
“Little bit by little bit I think the community can see the trust being able to be formed,” said Vicki Quaintes-Ferris, operations director of Omaha’s Empowerment Network.
“But they have to be tangibly able to see that. So it’s not an overnight process, it’s an ongoing process. I would say make sure you understand why that mistrust is there.
“Be willing, law enforcement or whomever, to make some of those changes internally so that the community can see you are listening to them. So they can see the change as well. If they don’t see the change it’s almost as if it’s business as usual.”
The Omaha strategy has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice as a best practice approach for fighting violent crime.
KC Common Good, a nonprofit dedicated to eliminating the root causes of violence, is working to create a similar program here.
KC 360 seeks to become a comprehensive, community-based approach to reduce gun violence, build stronger community relations and implement responsible justice reforms.
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