By Kylie Callura, Digital Producer, KCTV 5, Kansas City, MO, email@example.com
By Joe Chiodo, Anchor/Reporter, KCTV 5, Kansas City, MO,
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) - Stopping the violence was the focus of a town hall meeting in Kansas City on Tuesday night. With the homicide rate up and violence plaguing that nation, the community says something needs to be done.
The meeting was all about finding solutions. Each attendee was given a sheet of paper and encouraged to write down an issue and more importantly a solution so when they left they had ideas on how to spark change.
"Personally I have a few family members that have been lost to gun violence," said one of the attendees.
The goal of the town hall was to create a safer and more united Kansas City.
"Just standing on the sidelines isn't going to help us get anywhere," said another concerned citizen.
It began with a panel of kids, each saying more peer mediation and parent involvement is the key to preventing problems. Those problems, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker says, clearly exist.
"We are experiencing spikes in violence right now," she said.
She says violence was also up in the 60s and 70s and the community found a way out by having similar conversations to the ones had at the town hall meeting.
"I think we are in the middle of another civil rights movement," Peters Baker said.
Carol Ann Davis was in the crowd of more than 100 people tonight and she showed up because her grandson was murdered four years ago.
"Why are we killing one another and being so violent to one another?" she said. "It was very devastation for our family, we didn't understand why."
Senior Pastor Emanuel Cleaver III says finding a solution to that won't happen overnight.
"Violence, drugs play a role. Mental illness and when people have a lack of opportunity and a lack of hope and it's going to leave to drive," he said.
He also says his biggest concern is the community's relationship with police. Police say the number one issue facing them is exactly what brought them to the town hall.
"Communication. Both ways. When things happen, we need the citizens to assist us," Deputy Chief Randall Hundley with KCPD said.
To help improve communication, there's a new partnership between Kansas City police and the OK Program. The group will be putting officers in schools this year to serve as full time mentors to kids.
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