Citizens Task Force Against Violence

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

A youth master plan, a public health campaign and storefront community resource centers were among the recommendations unveiled Thursday by Mayor Sly James’ Citizens Task Force on Violence.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Jean Peters Baker's work doesn't end when she steps out of the Jackson County Courthouse. In fact, the county's top prosecutor recently hosted a cleanup event on the 2300 block of Denver Avenue in Kansas City to reduce blight and fight crime. She speaks about that, and about the work of Mayor Sly James' Citizens Task Force on Violence. Then, the only business school professor ever named a MacArthur Fellow tells us why he thinks fixing income inequality in America requires increasing the number of college graduates.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

A quiet meeting with a few people on Saturday turned into a fervent discussion  between almost 20 area  residents and members of the mayor's Citizens Task Force on Violence.

“Unfortunately we’ve had more than our share of deadly violence in this area,” said former city councilman John Sharp, who thanked the task force for holding its second listening session with the community. This one was at the Hillcrest Community Center in south Kansas City.

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

Frustrations ran high at the Citizen Task Force on Violence's first listening session Saturday morning, as several dozen Kansas Citians spoke out on how to curb violence in the city.

William Thomas, a probation officer in Johnson County, summed up what many of the attendees want out of the task force: a concerted effort before its self-imposed November deadline.

Kansas City’s new Citizen Task Force on Violence is up and rolling as it confronts the difficult question of why there’s so much violence in the metro. The committee had its first meeting last week, amid another spike in homicides in recent weeks.

Guests:

Dan Verbeck / KCUR

None of the houses Kansas City Councilwoman Alissia Canady lived in growing up east of Troost are occupied.

Most of the schools she attended have closed.

“When you look at the areas where violent crime is occurring, you see vacant and abandoned houses, high concentrations of poverty, lack of basic resources and poor education,” Canady said Tuesday at the first meeting of the Citizens Task Force Against Violence. “It’s almost like it’s the formula for violence.”

Canady grew up in the Third District and now represents the Fifth.