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Summer Crime Fighting

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) Cedar Rapids has already seen about 30 reports of shots fired just this year. That has many people asking what violence the summer months could bring, since police say crime rates generally increase in the warmer months.

The Stop the Violence IA Movement in Cedar Rapids picked up its work with events and marches a few months ago, but now with everyone outside as the thermometer climbs, some people say its more important than ever to keep the peace.

As Cedar Rapids youth wait for Splash Pads all around the city to open up, people who live nearby are worried that the increased foot traffic will bring trouble.

Myrt Kennedy lives across the street from Redmond Park. She says green spaces like the park are intended for the kids, but thats not always how it works out.

"This park was made for the children but it becomes a hangout for everybody and it causes confusion, said Kennedy.

Just a few blocks away, shots rang out the night before. Myrt says the violence makes it even more important for a neighborhood to stand up with marches and events to take their streets back.

"Because it gives the kids the opportunity to get out in their community and there are a lot of things in their community that they're missing, said Kennedy.

"They need to be learning something, said Stop the Violence IAs Monica Simpson. There are some gentlemen in this neighborhood and all the neighborhoods who are willing to sit down and talk to these kids."

Thats why Monica and some other community organizers, are working to get official non-profit status for their groups. That would allow them to fund raise and take their community events to the next level.

"It's in the works to be able to take like 50 to 60 kids to adventure land and we have adults that are willing to volunteer, said Simpson.

Neighbors say the violence has become something they just learn to live with. But still, Myrt says sometimes shes scared.

"Yes I am. But I can't live in fear forever and I can't live in the house and I'm not going to keep my grand kids closed up because of it, said Kennedy.

Once Stop the Violence IA and other organizations have that non-profit status, Monica says itll a lot easier to take donations and organize events. THE goal is to find anything that might occupy kids summers, and keep them around positive influences.
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