On Sunday morning, at around 1:20 am, 38 year old Lynn Glover was shot and killed while apparently waiting for a bus at a bus stop at 34th and Troost. She was apparently killed by a stray bullet that was shot by a 16 year old who was shooting at someone else.
Ms. Glover's death is tragic. And yet not unforseeable.
Just last week, KCMO published their Homicide Report for Q1 2009.
See the reddest dot on the map? Yeah, that's where this shooting took place. I wrote about this back in January when I noted that back in 2008, this area had a new project-based Section 8 Housing building. These project based Section 8 housing units have proven around the country to increase crime in those areas. Back in 2006, Kay Barnes' staff signed off on a renewal of Section 8 housing in this area for another 25 years -- even though the contract violates current HUD standards.
Project based Section 8 is little more than verticle segregation that is creating modern day ghettos.
The crime from last year has continued into this year. Back in March, a man in one of the Section 8 buildings on that block was shot and killed. Now, Ms. Glover.
These Section 8 apartments have brought with them a wealth of problems. And Ms. Glover is just another victim of those problems. Two weeks ago my neighbors were held up at gunpoint a block from here as they went for a walk. It's bad enough when people are victims of violent crime in this city because poverty and bad schools have created problems in the city. These are tough problems to fix (although we seem to be making little progress on them). But when someone becomes a victim of crime because of careless city policy -- it is completely inexcusible. And there is some more serious talke about even more out-of-town developers wanting to come in and create more Section 8 housing in the area.
We must. Stop it. Now.
These projects are creating big red dots all over our crime maps. While Ms. Glover's death was random in its choice of victim, the crime was anything but random. In fact, it was highly forseeable...every night as police cars sit in front of the buildings.
There are better ways. Better solutions. We shouldn't need more victims to prove it. It is time for our city leaders to really dig in to come up with better solutions to low-income housing than the policies of the early 1970s. We've learned a lot about success and failure of these programs since then and it's time to roll up our sleeves and come up with workable solutions instead of repeating the failures of the past and present. The neighborhoods, the people in the housing, and random people waiting for buses deserve better.