Champaign Police: Gun violence increasing in 2021

Local News

52 shots fired incidents reported in first 14 weeks of 2021

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — The Champaign Police Department is providing the community an update on how it’s responding to the recent uptick in gun violence.

A press release from CPD says the findings are consistent with crime trends nationwide. The police department is also reminding the community of several violence prevention programs people can use for assistance.

Below is year-to-date data on shooting-incident reports for Jan. 1 through April 8.

Incident type201920202021
Shots fired incidents 222852
Persons hit by gunfire846
Property damage reports121625
Homicides110

CPD says a ‘shots fired’ incident is defined as when police find evidence proving a gun was discharged. That could mean spent shell casings were found, property was damaged, or other personal injuries occurred.

The police department notes that there have been no murders this year. Additionally, 52 shots fired incidents have been reported this year — that’s up by 14 since last year.

“Unfortunately, gun violence remains an urgent, complex, and multifaceted problem, for our community and most others,” said Lt. of Investigations Geoff Coon. “A small percentage of individuals are choosing to settle disputes with bullets instead of words, and it’s important we continue to build upon community partnerships to proactively find new ways to intervene, disrupt the violence, and help those involved find a new path forward. One shooting is one too many.”

The release says the gun violence is largely retaliatory in nature or has been taking place among known accomplices, adding it’s not random.

Champaign police say many of the shootings have been crimes of opportunity, and that’s led to gunfire being exchanged between cars.

Here’s a few notes provide by CPD on the characteristics of recent gun violence:

  • They are largely unpredictable and spurred by an isolated disagreement, often beginning on social media.
  • Shooting scenes now commonly involve a high number of rounds of ammunition, with more than 20, 30, or even 50 spent shell casings collected at some incidents.
  • An increase in incidents that involve several shooters and weapons, and on occasion, high-powered rifle rounds capable of piercing housing structures and vehicles.
  • Drug and alcohol consumption, along with large, late-night gatherings have led to violence.
  • A lack of cooperation from victims and potential witnesses at shooting scenes.

Champaign Police says public safety remains to be their top priority, and they’re encouraging anyone with information related to a crime or future act of violence to contact police at 217-351-4545.  Those who wish to provide information to solve these crimes but want to remain anonymous, can submit tips to Champaign County Crime Stoppers by phone at: 217-373-TIPS (8477); online at 373tips.com; or through the “P3 Tips” mobile app.

“All too often, our neighborhoods and families are becoming heartbroken by the tragic news of a shooting, and the impact of gun violence can create a significant trauma for bystanders, friends and loved ones who must try and live with an experience they wish never happened,” says Community Coalition Facilitator Tracy Parsons. “The senseless shootings must stop — our neighborhoods are not asking for the problem but are sadly and unjustly facing the brunt of it. The Coalition and its partners are committed as ever to addressing violent crime and supporting those affected.”

CPD is remind people about the following resources, support networks and opportunities available for people to address gun violence.

  • Champaign County Community Coalition: Meeting on the second Wednesday of each month and open to the public, the Coalition is a collaborative initiative involving governmental partners, community organizations and members working together to address and solve the community’s most challenging social and economic issues – including gun violence. Each meeting includes a crime update from local law enforcement, and all residents are encouraged to join the discussion to learn more about community advancements, resources and the issues impacting our neighborhoods.
    • Contact: Tracy Parsons, City of Champaign Community Relations Manager & Compliance Officer and Champaign County Community Coalition Facilitator.
    • Tracy.parsons@champaignil.gov
  • CU Trauma & Resilience Initiative (CU TRI): A product of the Community Coalition, CU TRI is a collaborative initiative to improve the community’s ability to respond to families who have been affected by trauma, and to educate the community about trauma-informed care and resiliency. Individuals experiencing a trauma and in need of immediate support can call the CU TRI emergency number at 217-673-7122.
    • Contact: Karen Simms, CU TRI
    • 217-403-8876
  • CU Fresh Start: CU Fresh Start is a community-led focused approach to deter gun violence. Focused deterrence gives individuals with a history of involvement with gun-related activity a chance to put down the gun and move in a different direction. Referrals can be made to CU Fresh Start to help individuals find a new path forward.
    • Contact: Hattie LeNoir-Price, Community Outreach Liaison
    • 217-402-2949
  • The Illegal Gun Bounty Reward Program: Offered through Champaign County Crime Stoppers, anyone who contacts Crime Stoppers with a tip that leads to the arrest of a person who used a gun during the commission of a felony crime in Champaign County will receive the maximum $1,000 cash reward. Tipsters remain completely anonymous when providing information to Crime Stoppers.
  • Register your Neighborhood: Organized neighborhood groups are essential to fostering community well-being throughout the City. Register your neighborhood or group with the City of Champaign’s Neighborhood Services Department to help get to know those around you and to take an active role in organizing and leading your neighborhood. Neighborhood groups are also encouraged to reach out and share with law enforcement the problems most directly affecting their neighborhood.
  • Neighborhood Watch: Register through the City’s Neighborhood Watch Program. Neighborhood Watch is a great opportunity for communities to help in the fight against crime, as well as to bond through acts of service. Our neighborhoods are built on the strength of our citizens; and every day, situations arise that call upon residents to be the eyes and ears of law enforcement.
  • See Something, Say Something: The community is reminded to report all suspicious activity to the authorities. Crime prevention and arrests are often the result of alert citizens. By being alert and reporting suspicious activity to law enforcement, you can help protect your family, neighbors, and community.

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