Priest attack serves as wake-up call in KCK where residents voice concerns about violent crime

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February 07 2021 05:30 pm
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KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- A violent carjacking targeting an 82-year-old priest rocked the Kansas City, Kan., community this weekend.

The shocking attack was a topic of conversation as KCK residents met with police officers and city leaders Tuesday night to talk about how to reduce crime on their streets.

“It`s a sad thing when [people in] our society are attacking a priest or ministers and things like that,” said Clarence Miller, a minister in KCK. “But it just shows you how crime has gotten out of control here.”

Debbie Durham, a lifelong KCK resident, agreed the crime was a wake-up call.

“If a priest can be in their parking lot, as old as he is, it can happen to anyone,” Durham said. “Nobody is immune to it.”

They both joined others who voiced concerns Tuesday at the Mayor's Clergy Roundtable. It's a series of forums that KCK and Wyandotte County Unified Government Mayor Mark Holland hopes will get the community and law enforcement working together to make KCK a safer place to live.

“Our hope is to spur an ongoing dialogue,” Mayor Holland said, “and hopefully even break down the barrier so people feel like they can walk up to a police officer and talk to him and interact with him to make it more normal. And that to us, is really a big win.”

At the meeting, people participated in small group discussions with police officers to brainstorm solutions to violent crime, property crime and building better relationships with police.

“We’re going to compile all of that,” Mayor Holland said, “and then we’re going to give the feedback to the chief of police and we’ll also post it online for the community to see.”

Tuesday’s forum was the second in a series of four that were scheduled in the wake of an increase in homicides over the past several months.

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