At least 16 children in the Kansas City metropolitan area have died in homicides in the last 12 months, with many of them being killed as their homes were shot up by reckless gunfire.

Police say this year does not appear statistically worse than most in the past decade. A common denominator for most is parents who are either perpetrators of the violence or the target of gunfire that instead claims their children.

The Kansas City Star reports five of the 16 cases remain unresolved. The killings have swelled the ranks of anti-violence neighborhood activists holding vigils and releasing balloons on city streets to draw attention to them.

Prosecutors say the senseless slayings of innocent children draw attention to the larger problem of violence in the area.

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