New funding for neighborhood safety program

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — One neighborhood in Champaign is getting almost $70,000 to make their area safer. It’s all part of what’s called the SLEEP program. That’s a partnership with the city to add safety features including more lighting, video doorbells and new window locks.

It’s coming from a grant, and it’s a competitive one. Thousands of other communities wanted it. It can cost up to $5,000 for just one home to be part of the SLEEP program. This new money could help them work with around 20 more families.

The SLEEP program is still new. It started last May. More than 50 families have applied for it. The city is still going through those applications, but eight families are already benefiting. Neighborhood association leaders say, having this program, helps more than just the families that are part of it.

“We’re working step by step to improve the neighborhood and to get those things into place. I know it takes time. But this is definitely gonna help hopefully deter some crimes and light up some area that definitely need that extra lighting,” said association president Chad Smith.

The video doorbells are called Ring doorbells. They not only record when someone pushes your bell, but they also pick up when someone just walks nearby, so you can warn your neighbors of anyone suspicious.

There are more than a thousand homes in the Garden Hills neighborhood. Someday, the hope is for every family that needs it to get on board, but that will all depend on how much money the city has to put toward it.

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