CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Groups, organizers and donors visited the WCIA-3 back parking lot throughout the day on Giving Tuesday, all working to make the community safer, part of the Victory Over Violence campaign.

The Champaign Police Department say progress can’t be made without groups working to make big strides. Some of those groups are helping people finish their education, introduce kids to new activities and really increase involvement in so many different ways.

“One of the things that the Champaign police do themselves is Coffee with a Cop,” said Joe Lamberson with the police department. “They invite community members to various restaurants throughout the year to talk and create relationships.”

Lamberson says it’s important to get down to the root problems that lead to gun violence.

“Really it’s about a holistic approach to a problem that no one has a singular answer to be able to solve,” said Lamberson. “Police are only one aspect of addressing the violence we’ve seen in our community. What I can say is, the efforts are working. Gun violence is down by 49% in the City of Champaign year over year from the same time in 2021.”

Lamberson says community members are a big part of that decrease.

“Whenever they can bring police information about a situation, it leads them even closer to making an arrest,” said Lamberson.