Champaign-Urbana, Ill. (WCIA) —
“Realizing that what we’ve been doing in the past isn’t working and so we got to try something else,” Champaign County Sheriff, Dustin Heuerman said.
That realization comes after a deadly weekend in Champaign County. Law enforcement and other leaders across the community came together to talk about what’s next.
The goal of today’s meeting was to inform the public about what’s been going on in Champaign County. Their next step is where to go from here.
“The response and our ability to interrupt and eliminate gun violence really depends on all of us as a community coming together to address this issue,” Tracy Parsons, Champaign County Community Coalition, said.
That’s what community leaders did. Law enforcement came together to speak about the rise in gun violence in Champaign County.
“In my almost 27 years in Urbana PD we’ve never had two murders in 3 days,” Urbana Police Chief Bryant Seraphin said.
Four shootings happened over the weekend in Champaign-Urbana. Just days before, a two-year old was shot during an exchange of gunfire.
“That is the unintended consequences of recklessly shooting in the community,” Chief Heuerman said.
Now law enforcement leaders are trying to make a change and slow down the rate of shots fired.
“This is not something that I feel like our community and our department wants to make a normalized thing,” Champaign Police Department Deputy Chief David Shaffer said.
They also want the public to know, that the shootings this past weekend had intentional targets, but neighbors are still scared for their lives.
“We’ve seen both injury and death to participants in those activities as well as unintended property damage and other injuries to other individuals who aren’t involved in these incidents,” Deputy Chief Shaffer said.
The departments are all trying different methods to try and slow down the shootings. The sheriff’s office says they’re going door to door and encouraging people to use their app or call Crime stoppers. All departments are ramping up patrols.
“How can we partner and how can we work together to make this a safe neighborhood for everybody who’s living here,” Chief Heuerman said.
They say its a community effort.
“Create an environment that they want to put the guns down and then we have to look at law enforcement to arrest those that need to be arrested,” Parsons said.
Law enforcement say they have also noticed a high volume of bullet casings. Urbana Police said their crime scene Friday had around 60 casings. Champaign Police also said they have noticed 20 to 30 average at a lot of the shootings.