Meet a Lucerna Author: Tyler Evans

My Lucerna project is about the Kansas City No Violence Alliance (KC NoVA). It is a multifaceted organization that brings City Hall, the Police Department, the Prosecutor’s Office, Social Services, and community betterment programs together to reduce gun violence in Kansas City. KC NoVA uses a unique policing method called focused deterrence that, in contrast to traditional policing, encourages individuals who are involved in gangs and group violence to stop committing crimes by offering resources to them. If they refuse this help and continue wreaking havoc in the community, then the police department will swiftly arrest them.

Why are you interested in this topic?

A majority of Kansas Citians are aware of the Troost Divide and the poverty and crime rates of East Kansas City. There are multiple economic and social factors that cause injustice. Yet simply bringing awareness to the plight of people in need is not enough. Everyone in the community must act in order to reduce crime and break down barriers. I wanted to learn what community leaders are doing to address injustice and make the KC community safer. Therefore, I researched how multiple Kansas City community betterment programs joined forces to deter crime and improve the communities of East Kansas City through the initiative known as the Kansas City No Violence Alliance (KC NoVA). The aspect of KC NoVA that I most appreciate is how it provides resources to people in need in our community, turning once violent individuals into responsible citizens, which in effect makes the community safer.

What have been the benefits and challenges of this project?

My favorite part of this project was gathering primary sources. I got to talk to people in the police department, criminal justice professors, the prosecutor’s department, and also hear how people in the community feel about this initiative and how to address gun violence in our community. The biggest challenge was organizing all of the sources and information I collected into a coherent, consistent argument.

What is your advice for students who are interested in publishing their work in Lucerna?

I would tell students to be continuously curious and never stop searching for answers to your questions. Also, don’t be afraid to ask people for interviews/help—the worst thing that can happen is that they say, “No.”

What are your professional plans or goals?

I currently work for a marketing research firm and plan on working with this firm after graduation. I also plan on pursuing a graduate degree. I am considering whether to pursue an MBA or a graduate degree in psychology.