Rally at 31st and Prospect calls for end to high murder rate

A few hundred people rallied Saturday near 31st Street and Prospect Avenue to call for an end to murder carnage.

But the No Violence Alliance against crime couldn’t keep up with the body count.

Unveiled displays at the end of its afternoon rally listed 1,146 murder victims over the last decade, but not a man shot to death Friday night at 39th Street and Baltimore Avenue.

And early Sunday, within hours of the rally, another man was shot dead at 73rd and Norton streets.

At the rally, religious leaders and others spoke against inner city poverty and hopelessness that cause crime.

Police Chief Darryl Forte said there were 114 homicides in the city in 2011 – with 26 of them within a mile of the rally site, and probably over half of them within three miles of it.

But Forte also said Kansas City has historically been plagued by a high number of homicides – 90 in 1929, 119 in 1979 and 122 in 1999.

“This is nothing new,” he said. “Step up and do something.”

Mayor Sly James said criminals were “idiots” and “thugs” doing harm to the city and themselves.

If they want to get out of it, NoVA will help them with things like job training, education, substance abuse treatment and more.

Take that help, James said. “If you continue in a life of crime, we will lock your butt up.”

He called on them to “get on the path to having a family and having children and being a responsible parent.”

There are two options, James said. “Over here is help, over here is hell – take your pick.”

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