Leaders in Kansas City discuss ways to reduce violent crime

Published: Feb. 7, 2023 at 9:12 PM CST
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas hosted a roundtable discussion today with the U.S. Marshals Service deputy director and local teens to talk about violent crime impacting young people who live here.

Top city leaders, law enforcement and members of several community organizations sat down with the teens to discuss gun violence and possible solutions.

The teens talked about issues they face, including social media being used to bully or start fights that can escalate into gun violence.

“Some things we heard were inspiring about the work that they’re doing with community organizations,” Mayor Lucas aid. “Some heartbreaking. Hearing from a 15-year-old about how easy it is to get a gun on the streets of Kansas City.”

The deputy director of the U.S. Marshals Service, Roberto Robinson, said law enforcement in cities like Kansas City cannot arrest their way out of a problem. They are focusing on building community partnerships.

“Our director has a saying: ‘Those closest to a challenge are closest to the solution.’ That’s what we are trying to work on now,” Robinson said.

The president of the Full Employment Council, Clyde McQueen, announced two grants that will fund a youth development program as well as a re-entry support program for offenders who are re-entering the community following incarceration.

“We’ll be working inside with them to make sure that, when they do come back, they don’t go back for further violations,” McQueen said.

Tuesday’s roundtable discussion comes just one day before before nine Kansas City city council members will introduce legislation to appropriate $30 million over the next five years for violence prevention programs across Kansas City.

“The number of guns on the streets of Kansas City, the accessibility of those firearms, and the volume of violent crime is something that is nothing short of astonishing,” the mayor said.

“It has been too dangerous in Kansas City,” he said. “We’re coming off of three of our most violent years in the city’s history. That is something that is heartbreaking to us and inspires our actions each and every day.”

The nine city council members will hold a news conference Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. to share details on violence prevention programs.