CINCINNATI - Kendall Hampton was shot to death on Aug. 18, 2012. He was 26.
On Sunday, the one year anniversary of his death, Hampton’s family and friends held a prayer vigil for him in Walnut Hills. The group gathered in a parking lot in the 1100 block of East McMillan, the spot where he was shot.
Debbie Hampton, Kendall’s mother, is still struggling to come to terms with the fact her son is gone.
"He's loved, and he will never be forgotten, and we will do this every year as long as we can," she said about her son, who left behind a young daughter.
Akearri Pierson was only 8 when her father was killed. So said she's doing what she can to ensure she remembers as much as possible about her father.
"I watched his videos a couple times (because they make me feel) better,” she said.
Through prayer, hope and love, Kendall Hampton’s legacy lives on, according to his mother.
But there’s another way organizers of the vigil hope he will remembered. They hope his death serves as a call for peace in the community.
"The violence needs to stop. It seems like they're getting younger and younger every day, something is happening," said Peggy Harris, a leader with the nonprofit group Who Killed Our Kids.
That message seems more important than ever given the 54 percent jump in homicide during the first half of 2013 compared to the same period last year.
Through the end of June, 37 people were slain in Cincinnati, and if the current rate continues, the total could reach 74 by year’s end. In 2012, there was a total of 53 homicides. In 2008, 73 people were slain.
The all-time record of 89 was set in 2006.
But there are ways to put an end to this trend.
One such way to stop the violence is to get people to develop the courage to come forward to report crimes, Harris said.
"There's this thing called ‘no snitching’ but that's killing us,” she said. “Because (we need to) get the murderers off the street. A lot of times it's the same people doing it over and over."
Someone came forward with clues that led to an arrest in Kendall Hampton’s death. Last September, 19-year-old Eugene Carlos Dukes was indicted on murder charges.
Dukes has only been charged in the case and is still awaiting trial. He is scheduled to appear in court Thursday for a pre-trial hearing.
However, the simple fact an arrest was made is a positive sign in the eyes of people like Harris.
Law enforcement agencies rely on citizens to help them with policing their communities.
Capt. Gary Lee with the Cincinnati Police Department believes additional community involvement is important and will help police battle crime in the neighborhood. He considers them "extra resources" for his department.
“COP is a very important part of the police division,” said Lee, who is involved with the Citizens on Patrol group in Over-the-Rhine. “It helps supplement our police. These civilian volunteers become additional eyes and ears on the street for us.”
Lee believes that in addition to their own duties, members of the group will empower other members of the community to feel comfortable reporting crimes.
While some people might be afraid to come forward with tips, there's a way they can anonymously provide information to police. They can do so by contacting Crime Stoppers, a nonprofit organization that receives no government funding.
Last year alone, Crime Stoppers tips helped solve 14 homicides, 63 violent assaults and robberies and hundreds of other crimes. In 2012, arrests were made in 553 cases.
Since the program began 22 years ago, it has led to arrests in 15,518 cases, 509 of those were homicides.
Crime Stoppers serves all of southwest Ohio, Northern Kentucky and southeast Indiana.
You can contact Crime Stoppers at 513-352-3040.
You can also send a text message to police by typing CINTIP and the message, and then sending it to CRIMES (274637).
9 On Your Side reporter Amy Wadas contributed to this report
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