Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the name of the crime prevention program and data on the decrease in Santa Fe neighborhood homicides.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City leaders are celebrating a small step in fighting violent crime, a task that’s seen as insurmountable to some.

The latest update from the Joint Violence Reduction Initiative’s KC 360, a new crime prevention program put into use in June 2022, shows a reduction in homicides in Kansas City’s Santa Fe neighborhood.

City leaders presented data that shows a 78% drop in that east Kansas City area.

Police statistics from the past year show only two homicides there, as opposed to nine murders in 2022. It’s a reduction that has city leaders excited.

Kansas City Police Department data from 2001-2021 indicates 20% of the city’s violent crimes were centered in a 4-square-mile area that includes the Santa Fe neighborhood.

That’s why city leaders selected the neighborhood as its pilot program. The intention is to use it in other areas of Kansas City as well.

Kansas City 360 is modeled after a similar system used in Omaha, Nebraska, where leaders have reported a 50% drop in violent crimes in targeted neighborhoods.

“Think about the people, the children who grow up with family members. The kids in school who don’t know violence in their community, but instead, they know these people who are contributing each day. That is an important difference and an important change,” Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said.

“We are empowering neighborhoods to no longer accept violent crime on their blocks. We’re connecting people with these resources and services to get to the root causes of violent crime,” KCPD Chief Stacey Graves said.

Marquita Taylor, president of the Santa Fe Neighborhood Association, is also pleased by the encouraging news. She and others agree the new initiative and other efforts to curb crime need the involvement of residents.

“I want everyone as part of the solution. We can have social service organizations. They’re wonderful, but I need you out of your house, too. I need your commitment. I need you to speak up when you see crimes,” Taylor told an audience at the Linwood YMCA, which sits in the heart of that neighborhood.