STRIVIN’ is COMBAT’s initiative to bring together schools, police, mental health providers, faith-based leaders and concerned citizens to address violence in our most vulnerable neighborhoods. 
Striving Together To Reduce Violence In Neighborhoods

STRIVIN Crime Mapping ButtonTHURSDAY, AUGUST 29, 2019

Transforming a neighborhood with a high crime rate is beyond any single individual or any one agency. The police, alone, can't solve the problems that trouble some neighborhoods. As Larry Beaty noted upon becoming COMBAT Commission Chairman this spring, "You can't arrest your way out of the problems of drug abuse and violence."

But we can make a difference—truly change neighborhoods—if we are all STRIVIN' together.

STRIVIN' is the new name for a data-driven initiative COMBAT launched June 3, 2015 in south Kansas City. 

Using crime statistics from 11 local police departments, COMBAT began four years ago to generate maps indicating those Jackson County neighborhoods most in need of anti-violence and anti-drug resources. COMBAT quickly discovered in one of the most violent "hot spots" at that time, the Ruskin neighborhood in south Kansas City, few resources were being allotted from the Community Backed Anti-Crime Tax.

Today, Ruskin is home to the Hope Hangout, a hub COMBAT established for coordinating COMBAT-funded programs throughout neighborhood. This anti-violence initiative has since expanded to three more neighborhoods—in Northeast Kansas City, Independence and Raytown. To help promote and help it succeed, COMBAT is now calling this The STRIVIN' Initiative—STRIVIN' standing for Striving Together To Reduce Violence In Neighborhoods.

A Collaborative Effort



The success of STRIVIN’ hinges on collaboration. In our STRIVIN’ neighborhoods, COMBAT is working to bring together educators, elected officials, law enforcement officers, family court administrators, social workers, mental health professionals, substance abuse counselors, faith-based leaders and concerned citizens to join forces, pool resources, provide services and find solutions.

A Comprehensive Approach



Working together, we are addressing the core issues triggering much of the violence in the county's hot spots—from treating trauma, to finding transportation options for people needing services.

When this initiative was first launched, we quickly learned what simply getting everyone together in the same room and starting a dialogue can accomplish. The KC police, school administrators, court administrators and faith leaders promptly identified those youths who were the source of many issues in Ruskin. Early intervention is crucial when trying to get at-risk youths on the right path—away from crime and drugs—and then keep them on it. Again, expecting one group (e.g. the schools) to spot all the red flags and, alone, save these youths isn’t realistic.

But if the schools, courts, police, faith-based organizations and program providers are teaming up—often literally going door-to-door to talk to these kids and their families, making them aware of the services available to them—we can start turning around whole neighborhoods as we help each of these families turn around their lives.

Establishing A Hub



In each of the four primary STRIVIN’ neighborhoods COMBAT has established a hub to serve as the central source for directing individuals toward services. Simply put, a hub is the heart of our STRIVIN’ effort in that neighbor—the go-to place, a physical location, for getting people pointed in the right direction for help.

The four hubs are The Hope Hangout at the Bethel Family Worship Center (Ruskin), The Mattie Rhodes Center (Northeast), Community Services League (Hawthorne Place Apartments in Independence) and The Safe Zone at the 6317 Evanston in Raytown.

Being Data-Driven



Neighborhoods designated for The STRIVIN’ Initiative have been identified through inputting violent crime statistics, with a focus on homicides, sexual assaults, aggravated assaults and robberies, to produce hot spot maps. 

We will mark our progress the same way. Does the data indicate we are having a positive impact in these neighborhoods? Is STRIVIN’ making strides?

Violent Crime Statistics Chart
Violent crime statistics in the four STRIVIN' neighborhoods combined 2016-2018

A Major Shift For COMBAT



After Jackson County voters first approved an anti-drug/anti-crime tax in 1989, COMBAT’s original logo featured a clinched fist to represent the program’s single-minded emphasis on lowering the boom on criminals. Throughout the 1990s, COMBAT—very much in tune with “the war on drugs”—combatted drug crime, pursuing dealers, confiscating their drugs, shutting down their meth labs.

As the ’90s ended and the aughts began, the primary function of COMBAT was to disburse revenues from the quarter-center anti-drug/anti-crime sales tax to the various agencies providing prevention and treatment services. At the same time—with the majority of the revenue the tax generated—COMBAT continued to support various law enforcement agencies.

COMBAT, through STRIVIN’, is now playing a more direct role in our neighborhoods. COMBAT has gone from just funding to also facilitating efforts among various programs, police departments and school districts to reduce violence. COMBAT is proud to be your partner in striving to make every neighborhood a safe place to call home.
COMBAT is STRIVIN'

The Kansas City Police Department is STRIVIN’. 

The Raytown and Independence Police are STRIVIN’.

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office is STRIVIN’. 

The Family Court is STRIVIN’.

The Independence School District is STRIVIN’.

So, too, are the Kansas City Public Schools, Raytown, Hickman Mills and Fort Osage school districts STRIVIN’.

Hope House and the Rose Brooks Center are STRIVIN’.

The Mattie Rhodes Center is STRIVIN’.

The Center For Conflict Resolution Is STRIVIN’.

Cornerstones of Care is STRIVIN’.

First Call is STRIVIN’.

ReDiscover is STRIVIN’.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City… The Sisters In Christ… The Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault… The Local Investment Commission… The Full Employment Council... Alive & Well Communities... POAH Communities... Independence Youth Court  Judge Susan Watkins… Raytown Mayor Michael McDonough… Other elected officials, social workers and concerned citizens from across Jackson County… 

They are all STRIVIN’!