- KC 360 pilot program sees 74% reduction in fatal shootings in Santa Fe neighborhood.
- Multifaceted “village strategy” includes conflict resolution training, outreach, beautification, and stakeholder meetings.
- KC 360 aims to replicate successful strategies in other neighborhoods across Kansas City.
Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
Early this month, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, council members and program leaders gathered the press for the announcement of a small and focused success in the city’s violence prevention efforts.
Since the first of the year, the Sante Fe neighborhood has served as an incubator for Kansas City’s pilot violence prevention program, KC 360, and the focused effort seems to have paid off.
Santa Fe neighborhood experienced a 74% year-over-year reduction in fatal shootings.
KC 360 is based on a model in Omaha that brings together government agencies, police, and community groups to work collaboratively to reduce gun violence. Since its launch in 2008, Omaha 360 has experienced the lowest number of gun assaults and homicides in decades.
“Omaha is not Kansas City, I get that, but you start with just one area,” said Willie Barney, founder of Omaha 360. “Kansas City has all of the elements with the leadership, partners, and cooperation, and I believe this will be a turning-point moment for Kansas City.”
Results in Santa Fe Neighborhood
The Santa Fe neighborhood is located in the city’s urban core. Its boundaries are 27th Street south to Linwood Blvd and Prospect east to Indiana.
The neighborhood was chosen as the initial focus area for KC 360 because, according to data from the KC Police Dept., between 2001 and 2021, approximately 20% of all homicides in KC occurred within a four-mile area that included the Santa Fe neighborhood.
From January thru August 2022, the neighborhood experienced nine homicides and 14 non-fatal shootings.
With the focused KC 360 efforts, the Santa Fe neighborhood recorded only two homicides and 13 non-fatal shootings during the same timeframe in 2023.
“I’m cautiously optimistic, it’s the first step,” says Santa Fe Neighborhood Association President Marquita Taylor. “If we stick to Omaha’s model, I’m hopeful that we will get to a place where we can say our crime [citywide] has been reduced by 70%.”
While it is a small sample size, KC Mayor Quinton Lucas reminds residents that each of the homicides represents lost loved ones in families and communities.
“While these are impressive numbers, and numbers matter, to me the people matter the most,” says Lucas.
So far this year, Kansas City has had 147 gun deaths. That’s just below the pace for the grim record of 182 homicides set in 2020. However, non-fatal shootings are down 8% citywide.
“We have a small glimmer of hope in a historically bad year for homicides in Kansas City,” said Mayor Pro-tem Ryana Parks-Shaw. “The evidence is there that if we work together, we can solve this.”
About the Sante Fe Neighborhood
The Santa Fe neighborhood was the first exclusively White area in Kansas City where Black residents could buy homes after the fall of racial housing covenants in the late 1940s.
Baseball legend Satchel Paige lived the last 32 years of his life in the neighborhood, and his former home is to become a museum and event space. The neighborhood features many large historic homes and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.
The neighborhood’s boundaries are 27th Street south to Linwood Blvd and Prospect east to Indiana.
KC 360’s Multifaceted ‘Village Strategy’
KC 360 is spearheaded by KC Common Good with cooperation from KCPD, the city government, clergy members, the Santa Fe Neighborhood Association, and anti-violence organizations.
The program employs a multifaceted “village strategy” designed to address the root causes of violent crime in a targeted geographic area and focuses on four pillars: prevention, intervention, enforcement and support.
The strategy works to reduce issues that cause violent crime, like economic, educational, health, and housing disparities. KC 360 looks to academic research, community input, and the cooperation of 100+ organizations to identify and address issues that could lead to violence.
KC 360’s partners have invested nearly 10,000 hours of work over the past year and put in $3.53M in organizational resources to reduce crime in the city. Some of their work includes:
- Conflict Resolution Training: KC 360 provided free training in conflict resolution to equip community members with the skills to defuse potentially violent situations, with more training sessions planned.
- Outreach to At-Risk Individuals: The program reaches out to individuals at risk of being involved in violent incidents, offering support and alternatives to violence, including job training and resources.
- Beautification and Cleanup: The Santa Fe neighborhood has undergone beautification and the removal of 170,000+ pounds of trash to create a safer and more inviting environment.
- Community Canvassing: Volunteers from the neighborhood and KC 360 partners knock on doors to meet residents where they are to build trust, gather insights, and inform neighbors about resources.
- Weekly Meetings: Weekly meetings bring together residents and representatives from the dozens of groups KC 360 partners with to discuss the status of violent crime and formulate proactive solutions.
In action, the program often works like this: canvassing and other efforts engage neighbors, encouraging them to attend neighborhood meetings or share their concerns.
The info gleaned from neighborhood meetings and canvassing then is taken to KC 360’s weekly meetings with 100+ organizations to offer support and solutions under the guidance of KC Common Good.
Taylor gives an example of a neighbor whose door was broken down from a robbery. The neighbor told Taylor about the issue, and Taylor took it to a KC 360 meeting. From there, someone in the area was able to fix the door and make the house secure again.
The replaced door represents just one of the 4,876 actions in the Santa Fe neighborhood by KC 360. Klassie Alcine, CEO of KC Common Good who oversees KC 360, said the program is focused on the long term, with the ultimate goal of economic mobility.
“We’ve got the mayor all the way down to little ol’ me, and the neighbors are saying we are all in,” says Taylor. “Let’s prove this and work this model because this is a tremendous opportunity.”
Aim4Peace is a Key Player in Collaborative Violence Prevention Effort
Aim4Peace is a city program administered by the health department that acts quickly when violence occurs, but also work to prevent it, and is one of the key partners with KC 360.
After a shooting, Aim4Peace social service workers – called “violence interrupters” – show up at the hospital to work with victims and family members. Aim4Peace will then offer trauma support services and work to de-escalate tensions in order to prevent a relatatory shooting.
The organization has been a part of the city’s violence prevention strategy since 2008 and posted positive early results before its funding was subject to years of budget cuts.
Aim4Peace’s funding is on the upswing after being awarded a $2M grant from the U.S. Dept. of Justice in April. Ultimately, Mayor Lucas says he wants to give the program $1 million per year from the 3% tax approved on marijuana sales by Kansas City voters. As originally proposed, the funds were to be used ⅓ for violence prevention, ⅓ for addressing homelessness and ⅓ for cleaning up trash in the city.
Lack of funding constrained Aim4Peace to an impact radius of just 20 x 25 city blocks that includes the Santa Fe and nearby Ingleside neighborhoods. With the added funding, the group hopes to expand its staff and impact area.
Call to Action
KC 360 has advocated for more funding in violence prevention. In response, the city council — with advocacy from Parks-Shaw — gave a $30 million commitment to address violence prevention.
The $30M will be doled out by the city over the next five years, and the city is currently requesting proposals to help address violence prevention.
“I know we have much more work to do,” says Mayor Lucas. “I encourage everyone to take part however you can. We are very proud of that $30 million from the public sector, but to those in the business community: We want $30 million from the private sector.”
City Launches ‘Play Your Part’ Campaign
In support of the city’s violence prevention efforts, they recently launched a marketing campaign called “Play Your Part.” The full message supports the concept of collaboration that runs through the KC 360 Model.
“What can we collectively do to make our city’s residents safer? The answer is Play Your Part – change takes all of us,” said Lucas.
Lucas called not just on residents, but businesses to also be a part of the effort to campaign to end violence, saying the city had committed $30 million to the effort and asking them to do the same.
A Vision for the Future
KC 360 remains committed to its work in the Santa Fe neighborhood, but there are plans for future expansion to other neighborhoods disproportionately affected by gun violence.
Upcoming projects in the Santa Fe neighborhood include bulky trash cleanup, bimonthly community canvassing, the installation of speed bumps on high-traffic streets, and renovations to apartment buildings that require repair.
For more info about KC 360 and its violence prevention initiatives, visit KCCommonGood.org. If you’d like to volunteer or contribute, KC 360 meets every Thursday at 9 a.m. at 5311 Tracy on the Rockhurst University campus.