Neighbors band together to stop violence in high crime areas - KCTV5

Neighbors band together to stop violence in high crime areas

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

People who live in Kansas City's urban core are tired of violent criminals controlling their streets and want to take back the area block by block by creating a community police force.

People behind the new effort say they won't be chasing bad guys down with guns. Instead, they say there will be additional eyes and ears working with police. If they see someone crawling into a window, they will get all the information they can and then call police.

On those certain Kansas City streets, flashing police lights are common and the people who live there know when they see red and blue shining through their window, someone is hurt or worse.

"In 2001 I lost my brother to violence," said Sastah Mosley, a peacekeeper.

Someone also killed Mosley's nephew. He decided to become a peacekeeper and wants to patrol Kansas City streets as a member of the community police force.

"It's a life and death issue," Mosley said.

Peacekeepers Coordinator Bishop Tony Caldwell said he has recruited about 700 people to be trained in conflict resolution and anger management.

"A lot of times we turn a blind eye and that's how crime just grows and grows and grows," he said. "We are not going to go down and chase a bad guy down the road with a gun. That is not our responsibility, but we will get every piece of information. We are going to train them on how to gather information and hand over to the police."

Those who join will be deputized as members of the PeaceKeepers of Kansas City Community Police Force and walk high crime areas during the peak time for criminal activity to mediate problems and report criminal activity to police.

"We are not the police department. We are not a vigilante group. We are citizens that have decided this our block, we are going to police our block, we are going to take care of our block," Caldwell said.

The chair of Kansas City's Public Safety Committee said he supports the community police force.

"Really a lot of homicides stem from assaults. They start out as an assault and escalate. Some aggravated assaults were really attempted homicides," said Councilman John Sharp. "(The goal is) to prevent neighborhood feuds or beefs between groups of young people from escalating into criminal activity or actual violence."

Sharp says he would like to see the community police force coupled with the current efforts of the Kansas City No Violence Alliance.

In the beginning of this effort, the group wants to be highly visible, so Peacekeeper Community Police Force members will wear bright orange peacekeepers t-shirts. Then they will transition into blending in.

Caldwell said they've already quietly tested the community police force in high crime areas and whatever area they go into "gets quiet," meaning, according to him, that crime decreases.

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