Hot Spot meeting addresses Northeast violent crime issues

Independence Plaza Neighborhood Association President Tom Ribera speaks during the April 13 NE Kansas City Violence Reduction initiative meeting.

Independence Plaza Neighborhood Association President Tom Ribera speaks during the April 13 NE Kansas City Violence Reduction initiative meeting.

By Michael Bushnell

Northeast News

April 14, 2017

KANSAS CITY, Missouri – Violent crime was the primary topic of conversation on the afternoon of Thursday, April 13 at

the Northeast Chamber of Commerce office, where Jackson County COMBAT hosted a meeting of Northeast community stakeholders.

The meeting was part of a coordinated attempt to bring additional resources to an area along Independence Avenue riddled with blight, prostitution and chronic violent crime. Billed as the NE Kansas City Violence Reduction Initiative, the group’s first meeting was in late February. At that meeting, COMBAT Deputy Director Vince Ortega stated that the city’s number-one crime hot spot was Northeast Kansas City, citing an area bounded by Manchester Trafficway on the East, Charlotte Street on the West, Cliff Drive on the North and 12th Street on the

South. Stakeholders in attendance at that meeting were tasked with scaling down the area to a more workable target zone that would encompass two Northeast neighborhoods bordering the central region of the Independence Avenue corridor.

The April 13 meeting was attended by representatives of COMBAT, KCPS, the Police Department’s East Patrol Division, the Northeast Chamber and Avenue CID, NEAT and two area neighborhood associations with an active interest in the reduction of violent crime: Indian Mound and Independence Plaza. When asked about the “new” hot spot boundaries, both Tom

Ribera of Independence Plaza and Manny Abarca of Indian Mound expressed concern that the area was designed without neighborhood association input. Additionally, both indicated that the target area needed to be expanded.

“We’ve got some real issues in the South Indian Mound neighborhood, specifically the area South of Budd Park, that need to be included in this hot spot area,” said Abarca. “The type of crime you’re targeting transcends neighborhood boundaries and negatively impacts quality of life for both residents as well as small businesses along the Avenue corridor.”

Abarca’s comment proved prophetic – less than 12 hours later, a double shooting resulted in a homicide on the 400 block of S. Colorado.

Tom Ribera agreed with Abarca’s statement, stating that vagrancy, prostitution, drug dealers and vacant houses all play an active role in the cycle of violent crime in Northeast.

“There are a number of extremely hot crime areas outside of this very small area you’ve given us,” said Ribera, pointing out the area of Independence and Cypress and Independence and Bellefontaine, where prostitution and rampant drug-dealing go virtually unchecked on a

daily basis. “Business in this area suffer because of the vagrancy, the crime and the panhandling that exist along the Avenue.”

Northeast Chamber of Commerce President and Independence Avenue CID Director Bobbi Baker Hughes indicated that the CID is looking at some creative ways to address the vagrancy and panhandling issues, and stated that part of the plan for the next fiscal year was the possibility of expanding the CID south along the Prospect corridor to address the same

issues with violent crime.

Ribera also noted the lack of an operating community center where area youth could congregate for a variety of activities.

“There’s nowhere for these kids to go, so a lot of times they take to the streets and end up being a part of the justice system instead of being productive members of of the community,” he said.

When the now vacant Scarritt School was brought up as a possible location for a community center, KCPS Representative Rick Bishop indicated that the school had previously been slated by the district for potential re-use as an elementary and early childhood learning center. The school, however, has been vandalized inside and out to the point where its fate is now in jeopardy. During a follow-up conversation with Ortega on April 14, he hinted that the old school could very well be adaptively re-purposed as a community center through COMBAT’s partnership in this initiative, and due to its central location within the defined target area.

“That really could be developed into a great asset for the community” he said.

When asked about the lack of neighborhood associations present at the meetings, Ortega indicated that it was not exclusionary in any way.

“We wanted to make sure we had good data and good intel in-house before we brought the neighborhoods to the table,” said Ortega. “We’ve asked key people to reach out to those neighborhoods and to make sure they have someone present at the upcoming meetings so we can place our resources where they’ll do the most good.”

The next NE KC Violence Reduction Initiative will be held in May.

Comments are closed.

  • SVN to receive another $450K in grant funds

    11 hours ago
    by

    By Paul Thompson Northeast News June 22, 2017 KANSAS CITY, Missouri – The good news keep rolling in for Scuola […]


    Law enforcement taking steps to address surge in violent crime

    19 hours ago
    by

    By Paul Thompson Northeast News June 22, 2017 KANSAS CITY, Missouri – The victim in an early-morning June 10 robbery […]


    GO Bond-backed sidewalk repair program taking shape

    June 19th, 2017
    by

    By Paul Thompson Northeast News June 19, 2017 KANSAS CITY, Missouri – When voters approved all three ballot measures in […]


    Charges filed in deadly Northeast vehicular crash

    June 19th, 2017
    by

    By Paul Thompson Northeast News June 19, 2017 KANSAS CITY, Missouri -The Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office announced charges last weekend […]


    Northeast Newscast Episode 14 – The history and future of the Northeast News w/ publishers Michael Bushnell and Chris Adams

    June 16th, 2017
    by

    By Paul Thompson Northeast News June 16, 2017 KANSAS CITY, Missouri – This week, Northeast Newscast host Paul Thompson interviews […]


  • [Advertisement.]
  • Single terminal airport bidding process finally coming into focus

    June 15th, 2017
    by

    By Paul Thompson Northeast News June 15, 2017 KANSAS CITY, Missouri – For the second time in as many weeks, […]


    Flag Day flag retirement ceremony held at Korean War Veterans Memorial

    June 14th, 2017
    by

    By Abby Cambiano Northeast News June 14, 2017 KANSAS CITY, Missouri – The Missouri Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington […]


    Jackson County COMBAT hosts cleanup in Northeast

    June 14th, 2017
    by

    By Paul Thompson Northeast News June 14, 2017 KANSAS CITY, Missouri – Jackson County COMBAT hosted a neighborhood clean-up and […]


    Art installed at the Northeast News

    June 14th, 2017
    by

    Northeast News June 14, 2017 Above: area artist Rebecca Koop of Northeast Arts KC stopped by the House of News […]


    Council paves way for KCI bid extension

    June 13th, 2017
    by

      By Paul Thompson Northeast News June 13, 2017 KANSAS CITY, Missouri – The KCMO City Council acted quickly on […]


  • Follow us on Twitter

  • What’s Happening

    retorts illustrated bryan stalder

    Northeast News June 21, 2017

    A grand old flag with a grand old history

    By Michael Bushnell Northeast News June 21, 2017 During the American Revolution, a number of patriots made flags for our […]

    Early 1900s school site is now interstate interchange

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL Northeast News June 14, 2017 This view of The Paseo, between 15th and 16th streets, looks north […]

  • Local Weather

  • [Advertisement.]