In Kansas City, Missouri, gun-related violence is on an unsettling and dangerous rise.
According to The Kansas City Star, the number of shooting victims through April 2017, has increased by 14 percent and is up a whopping 128 percent since 2014.
“I’ve said the same thing over and over and over: When people have guns and poor problem-solving skills, they are going to use them,” Kansas City Mayor Sly James told the Star. “And I don’t know how to stop it. I wish I did, and I would get there and do it. But nobody else has seemed to figure out the magic formula, either.”
As part of Operation Ceasefire, eight barbershops in the area remained open for 24 hours over the weekend. Their goal? Give kids free hair cuts and more importantly, free advice.
This is the second annual Operation Ceasefire, and organizer Ronell Bailey told NBC News affiliate KSHB that he got the idea to use barbershops to curb the murderous “epidemic” from the film “Barbershop: The Next Cut.”
“The barbershop is the foundation for our community,” Bailey told KSHB. “You can come to our barbershops and get advice from barbers. You can get mentors and things like that, you can even walk in and get a problem solved any time of the day.”
A nice hair cut is always appreciated, but Bailey reiterated that a new do is just an added bonus and the real reward is turning barbers into “an inspiration on people's lives.”
Andre McCallop, owner of Shear Kuttz, has experienced first hand how a barber's chair can easily turn into a therapist's couch.
“I had a young man come in one time, he’s maybe 18, he was having difficulty with his dad,” McCallop told Fox News 4. “He said, 'Man 'Dre what can I do?' I gave him a little bit of advice and when he came back a couple of weeks later, he had some good news. He said, 'You know what 'Dre, whatever you told me it worked.'”
As adults who live in the community and have a few more years under their belts, High Energy Cuts owner Tony Allen explained to KSHB that they're constantly trying to build relationships with the kids and teens who come in.
“The only thing we do here is try and talk with them and give them a better way," Allen said. “We’re trying to just reach one, teach one. You know, if we can reach one, we can teach one.”
He added that guidance doesn't end after they walk out the door and his employees will also talk to the younger community members in the streets, as well. It also doesn't end at just young men, and hair stylist MiMi French has taken it upon herself to help the community come together.
“Baby steps, you gotta crawl before you walk and maybe this will domino effect to stop violence you know,” French told KSHB.
Just like in the film that inspired the initiative, Kansas City saw a change in the dangers their community faced as well. According to Fox News 4, last year's Operation Cease Fire, which only featured three barbershops, resulted in less bloodshed during the weekend it took place.