CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — The Champaign Police Department released on Thursday its review of 2022, and chief among their findings was that gun violence decreased by 50% between 2021 and 2022.
Department officials said reducing gun violence was one of three key priorities the department set for 2022. Their efforts succeeded in lowering the number of shooting incidents (defined as any time police find evidence that a gun was fired) from 259 to 129. Homicides were also reduced from 17 to nine.
Champaign Police added that an arrest was made in all but one of those 2022 homicide investigations.
Another priority the department set for 2022 was increasing community engagement. With COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings being relaxed, Champaign Police renewed their focus on community engagement, hosting 81 events that included meetings, block parties and resource fairs. Champaign Police personnel spent 363 staff hours to attend these events.
“Following a long COVID drought, Champaign Police spent 2022 reforging important connections and engaging with our community,” said Chief of Police Timothy Tyler. “Our officers have listened to the concerns of Champaign’s residents, businesses, and elected officials, and have worked to address them with every available resource.”
Listening to and addressing those concerns was the third priority the department set for 2022. Responding to speeding and traffic violation concerns, officials said the department returned to pre-pandemic levels of proactivity, with more than five times the number of traffic stops in 2022 than there were in the previous year. Several of these traffic stops resulted in the seizure of unlawful guns and controlled substances.
Outside of these three priorities, department officials also reported several other statistics:
- Officers responded to 43,857 service calls, a 5.72% increase from 2021
- 236 guns were seized or recovered
- 30 new personnel were hired – 14 newly hired officers, eight officers with prior experience and eight civillians
- Staff and specialized units trained more than 23,000 hours to grow their skills and bolster units as a whole
- Three homicides, 12 stolen vehicle cases and dozens of other felonies were solved thanks in part to new technologies like automated license plate readers
Department officials added that in 2022, they partnered with the Equity & Engagement Department to launch the Justice Victim Advocates, an organization of professionals to work with the department in providing follow-up care to victims of community violence. The department also strengthened its pre-existing partnerships with area law enforcement agencies through the Campus Police Services Agreement.