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‘Neighborhood Change Agents’ targeting Fort Worth’s crime hotspots, hoping to stop gun violence

"The goal is to reduce gun violence in urban communities, and we focus on hotspots," said Rodney McIntosh. His brother was killed in Fort Worth this year.

FORT WORTH, Texas — The Fort Worth Police Department investigated its 100th homicide of the year on the city's southside. Officers found 24-year-old Isaiah Torres shot in the 4900 block of Collett Little Road on Nov. 8 around midnight.

Fort Worth community activist Corey Session is trying to make sense of the city's violence this year.  

"It's senseless, completely senseless," said Session.

This year's homicide count has hit home for him. 

"My brother is part of that 100," said Session.

Session's brother, 58-year-old Kevin Kennard, of Fort Worth, was shot and killed when he was trying to break up a fight. 

Credit: Corey Session
Fort Worth Community Activist Corey Session called his brother Kevin Kennard a peacemaker. Kennard is part of the Fort Worth 100 Homicide count after being shot on October 25, 2021, while breaking up an argument.

"He was the peacekeeper," Session said. "He kept the peace. He was the person who said, 'go to your corners and you all squash this.' That is what he was doing and he loses his life behind it. It's going to take the police, the community, and people to talk to individuals."

People, like project manager Rodney McIntosh, along with Change Felton Jenkins and Roger Foggle, who carry the title "Neighborhood Change Agent." The VIP logos they wear on their shirts and caps stand for "Violence Intervention and Prevention".

Credit: WFAA TV News
Participants will wear the VIP program logo so people in high crime neighborhoods will be able to seek help, especially with conflict resolutions. Program Manager Rodney McIntosh hopes to add 5 additional staffers to the existing five members they have now.

A total of five Neighborhood Change Agents, including McIntosh are part of the start-up initiative. They eventually hope to add five more NCAs. All of them have street knowledge and relate to people in areas where police are likely to respond to calls about violent crime. 

The Neighborhood Change Agents believe they can make a difference in Fort Worth's crime hotspots -- because they're from the streets.

"The goal is to reduce gun violence in urban communities, and we focus on hotspots," said McIntosh.

"When you see things taking place in the community that you grew up in... Honestly, that you may have at one time been a perpetrator of the violence and things that took place in the community, I believe there is a mandate on us," said McIntosh.

The VIP workers hope to eventually gain the support of Fort Worth community organizations and corporations who are also interested in making Cowtown a safer place to work, live and play for all citizens.

McIntosh has the thumbs up from the chief of police at the Fort Worth Police Department, along with many other city leaders.  

McIntosh hopes to meet people where they are when it comes to teaching them conflict resolution skills that could become alternatives to gun violence. He hopes to have the biggest impact on young and middle-aged males by introducing them to educational opportunities despite their criminal past or negative encounters with law enforcement. 

"What we are trying to do is build a relationship and being consistent in the lives of those young men on a daily basis," Pastor Mac said. "Come to find out, if I don't trust you, then no matter what you say to me it is not going to work, right?"

Pastor Mac takes his calling to give back to Fort Worth seriously and believes if he and the Neighborhood Change Agents can impact just one person it would be worth it. 

"If we bring in just one young man and he brings one with him, then we have rescued two young men," Foggle said. "And then, what if those two bring in two more off the streets? And now, we are looking at saving four people from violent crime." 

"I have gone into some of our troubled neighborhoods and taken young people to places like the bowling alley and then after dropping them off, put a little change in their pocket just to show how much I care," said Jenkins.  

Just like McIntosh, the other participants in VIP also believe they too have a mandate and calling on their lives that could impact the city's violent crime and homicide numbers now and in the future. 


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