KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Kansas citizens are coming together to protect their community from crime.
On behalf of the Justice and Dignity Center, Tony Caldwell shared the group’s plan to stop violence, murder and sex trafficking, with an emphasis on improving the process of reporting missing persons, at a public press conference on Saturday.
“The Justice Center is here to offer solutions, not just to talk about the problem, but to offer real solutions,” Caldwell said.
Part of the plan includes building an app to report anyone who may be missing.
Caldwell contributes the inspiration for the idea to the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department’s failure to collect missing person reports for those who may not have a full name or who may only be known by a nickname.
Therefore, the group created the app to allow the community to submit a missing report with information such as nicknames, known places and unique tags.
Other users of the app can then respond and provide real-time information to a “mass army” where “hundreds of eyes” can locate people much more efficiently.
“Our gift to Kansas City,” Caldwell said. “… If no one is going to protect us, we have to protect ourselves.”
For years, Caldwell says a “dark cloud” of violence has hung over the city.
In an effort to initiate change, Caldwell says the group is committing to invest money, time and effort into expanding the set of “eyes and ears” on the streets.
By addressing the issue and making the group’s presence known to traffickers and criminals, Caldwell believes fewer people, especially black women, will be caught and forced into a life of sex trafficking.
Without giving too much away, she shared that the group has been in contact with the Justice Department, claiming that the group is aware of specific locations and individuals involved in sex trafficking.
In addition to the missing persons app, a second app is in the works to connect the community to resources.
Through the Justice Center’s partnerships with more than 114 organizations, a controlled list of active services, such as hot meals and accommodations, will be made available.
Both apps will be available to the public in February, according to Caldwell. App names have yet to be released.
Moving forward, Caldwell says the group has been approached by the KCPD to set up a time to discuss how the two entities can work together.
For jurisdictions using the Greater Kansas City Crime Stoppers Tips Hotline, anonymous tips can be submitted by calling 816-474-TIPS (8477), submitting the tip online, or via the free mobile app at P3Tips.com.
Details and annual homicide data for the Kansas City area are available through the KSHB 41 News Homicide Tracker, launched in 2015. Read the KSHB 41 News Mug Shot Policy.