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Metro Kansas City Closes Out Another Violent Year, With More Than 200 Homicides

Elle Moxley
KCUR 89.3
Bishop Frank Douglas of the Beth Judah Church of God in Christ speaks at the AdHoc Group Against Crime 2018 vigil.

Volunteers read the names of 2018 homicide victims Saturday night at the AdHoc Group Against Crime’s vigil.

Across the metro, there have been 208 homicides this year, according to AdHoc's accounting. In Kansas City, Missouri, there were 133 homicides as of Friday, Dec. 28, the last time the Kansas City Police Department updated its crime statistics website. Less than half have been cleared.

“It’s been so many homicides,” said Linda Hammond, one of the readers at the vigil. “It’s uncalled for. Bunch of senseless killing. Kids outside playing, (getting shot because) they’re doing drive-by, or they don’t care who’s around. They just shoot.”

Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3
KCUR 89.3
A member of Mothers United lights candles at the AdHoc Group Against Crime's 2018 vigil.

The deaths of children – six were murdered this year in the city – always touch Hammond because her toddler grandson was beaten to death years ago. She’s a member of Mothers United, a support group for victims’ families.

“I know that feeling. It’s not a good feeling,” Hammond said. “Once you lose a loved one, especially through homicide, it’s like a big part of you that’s taken away from you.”

About three dozen people attended the vigil, held at the Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church’s Youth and Family Life Center at 27th and Wabash. Before the center was built, anti-violence groups would place white crosses to memorialize homicide victims in the empty lot next to the church.

“We hope and we pray that 2019 will be a better year than ’18 and ’17 and ’16 and the year that we had 153 homicides, which was a record year,” said Alvin Brooks, a former police commissioner and director emeritus of AdHoc. “There’s nothing wrong with us, but there’s something wrong with this environment.”

Elle Moxley covers education for KCUR. You can reach her on Twitter @ellemoxley.

Elle Moxley covered education for KCUR.
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