It was another violent year in Kansas City and while the Kansas City Star is downplaying the homicide numbers today, KCUR Public Radio is reporting that over 200 homicides were reported–and the year isn’t over yet.
According to AdHoc’s accounting there have been 208 homicides this year. 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.”
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.”