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After another deadly year, Partners for Peace will work with KCPD on crime intervention

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Two police officers wearing blue shirts and black vests with "Police" printed on the back stand near a crime scene.
Carlos Moreno
/
KCUR 89.3
A KCPD officer guards a murder scene.

Kansas City's new crime prevention program, Partners for Peace, brings together social service providers and local law enforcement with the hopes of reducing the city's homicide rate.

Kansas City recorded its second highest rate of homicides in 2022, but a new program is underway with hopes of reducing violent crime in the metro.

Partners for Peace — a collaboration between Kansas City, Missouri, Jackson County Combat, Kansas City Police Department, community leaders and more than a dozen social service providers — is working to intervene and prevent retaliatory crime.

An earlier collaboration, KC NoVA, received national attention after reducing crime in Kansas City, but that program ended in 2019.

Melesa Johnson, head of Partners for Peace, says a lack of trust between community members and the KCPD have strained previous efforts to reduce violent crime.

"We now have a police department that is willing to share information with civilians so that we can actually deploy social service agencies at victims of non-fatal shootings and families," Johnson told KCUR's Up To Date.

Since its inception, Partners for Peace has referred 150 individuals for intervention services.

"We know we have a lot of work to earn the community's trust and we are absolutely willing to do that," says Johnson.

If Kansas City voters in April approve the city's proposed 3% sales tax on recreational marijuana, a portion of the revenue generated will be used to fund the program.

Baker and Johnson joined Up To Date to explain how the outreach program will work.

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When I host Up To Date each morning at 9 a.m., my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. My email is steve@kcur.org.
Elizabeth Ruiz is a producer for KCUR’s Up To Date. Contact her at elizabeth@kcur.org or on Twitter at @er_bentley_ruiz.
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