By JOE JAROSZ
March 5, 2014
The Independence Avenue Community Improvement District is almost ready to celebrate its one year anniversary. In the past year, the CID has helped change the perception of the Historic Northeast with the help of Titan Protections and Consulting.
Through Titan Protections, a group of security officers, also known as the Avenue Angels, can frequently be seen walking up and down the Avenue promoting safety and building relationships with business owner and people they meet on the street. During February’s Northeast Kansas City Chamber of Commerce luncheon, several angels gave the 20 community members in attendance a brief overview of what they do and an update on recent activity.
Officers Logan Parks and Sam Guerrero said they may not look intimidating in their green Ford Fiesta, but the presence of the Angels is helping deter panhandlers and loitering along the Avenue.
“People hang out in front of businesses and we try to deter that presence to make people feel safer outside their homes,” Parks said. “These people know we mean business. It’s been getting better since day one and it’ll keep improving.”
Bobbi Baker-Hughes, director of the CID, read an incident report that involved the Avenue Angels. On Friday, Feb. 21, outside of Snyder’s Supermarket, 2620 Independence Ave., several Angels approached a large group that was loitering near the market’s door and asked them to leave.
“The subjects left and didn’t return,” Baker-Huges said. “These are the things they are trained in.”
Parks added the Angels also contact the Kansas City Police Department when they need to, however, they tend to take care of the smaller problems, such as trespassing, loitering and graffiti.
“Businesses call and ask us to just hang out and be present,” Parks said. “We’re not here to be the police department, just a visible deterrent to crime.”
Jason Cooley, community interaction officer for the Kansas City Police Department, said the city is impressed with the direction of the CID.
“It’s a good gauge for us for what’s going on in the city,” Cooley said.
In a nut shell, Baker-Hughes said the CID is to help reduce crime and change the perception of northeast Kansas City. Since moving into her home 22 years year ago, she said nobody has broken into it, but the community doesn’t hear about those stories. They hear about the homes that were broken into or graffitied.
“We have to share the successes and good of the community,” Baker-Hughes said.
Also during the luncheon:
Baker-Hughes announced the chamber was recently awarded the Healthy Business/Healthy Community Grant, which helps the chamber work with local restaurants to create healthier menu options.
A ribbon cutting ceremony will take place from 8 – 9 a.m. at Capitol Federal, 4242 Main St.
Baker-Hughes reminded everyone in attendance the annual Beads, Beans and Beer Mardi Gras fundraiser takes place from 5:30 – 10 p.m. Tuesday, March 4, at the Don Bosco Senior Center, 580 Campbell St.