KC 360 eye launch first to address violence

The new year will bring a new, more comprehensive approach to address gun violence in Kansas City.

It’s called the KC 360, it’s coming to the Santa Fe Neighborhood, and it’s modeled after the wildly successful approach in Omaha, Nebraska.

Omaha 360 is part of Empowerment Network, which is a series of campaigns to deal with various issues in society. Omaha 360 focuses on violence prevention and intervention.

The group boasts of reducing the rate of shootings and homicides by 74%, increasing the number of homicides solved from 30% to 80%, and reducing officer-involved shootings by 90% for more than a decade.

KC 360 will do the same thing, first targeting a few blocks from Santa Fe Neighborhood.

It’s a place with a rich history including homes that once belonged to Satchel Paige and Buck O’Neil, but is now plagued with open lots, vacant properties, and two to three murders a year, according to Santa Fe Neighborhood Council President Marquita Taylor.

“The reason Santa Fe was singled out was high crime,” Taylor said.

Willie Barney started The Empowerment Network and he says the key is making sure everyone in a community has a seat at the table.

“Hearing from residents, hearing from those most impacted, getting their thoughts and suggestions I think is what keeps people at the table, and then acting on it,” Barney said.

Kansas City committee like KC Common Good’s Reverend Darren Faulkner said underused space can be used to build an affordable place for members of the community to start a business, give them a job, make the community a better place to live, making it safer.

“When we see the numbers from Omaha and see the success they have had with this imitative, it just gives us hope,” said Faulkner.

hope that Kansas City can replicate the same success in Santa Fe and, eventually, throughout the city.

Omaha and Kansas City have about the same population within the city limits (Omaha: 480,000, KC: 491,000) but Omaha only has about 20 murders in 2022 so far. Kansas City has more than 120.

“One of the things I think we can be successful with here in Kansas City is that collaboration,” Faulkner said.

That work has already begun with KC Common Good bringing together community members, local businesses, and other organizations to figure out how they can work together when the program launches in early 2023.

Already, an ambitious clean up proves to some residents that KC 360 is different from the previous efforts to curb violence.

“Our neighbors can say, ‘Hey this is different, what else do you have,'” Taylor said.

Omaha has found that once local stakeholders identify challenges, it’s easier for other groups to help them.

“When we begin to do work in these targeted geographic areas, cities, counties, states, foundations, business community environments, churches, they begin to see what their role can be more clearly,” said Barney.

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