City holds press conference addressing rise in gun violence

Local News

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — City officials held a press conference Tuesday morning to address an increase in shooting incidents this year.

A press release from the City of Champaign stated Mayor Deborah Frank Feinan, Police Chief Anthony Cobb, Champaign County Community Coalition Facilitator Tracy Parsons, and several community members convened “to reaffirm and redouble the city’s commitment to addressing these acts of senseless gun violence.”

The release stated as of Monday, Champaign has seen 95 shooting incidents so far this year, compared to 49 as of the same date in 2019.

“In 2019, the city finished the year with 100 shooting incidents,” the release added.

Data provided by the City of Champaign
Data provided by the City of Champaign

The city defines a shooting event as any time police recover evidence of a firearm being discharged, which can include finding spent shell casings or damage to life or property.

Data provided by the City of Champaign

At the press conference, participants urged people involved in gun violence to put their weapons down and settle their disputes through peaceful solutions.

“Champaign Police remind the community that they are its greatest partner and are committed to trust building and working with community groups, neighborhood leaders, and social service providers to help peacefully reduce the number of shooting incidents,” the release stated.

The city said in order to deter violence, their police department will continue to deploy resources and directed patrols, which are based on intelligence-based models that identify areas of concern. It added the Champaign County Street Task Force will also provide assistance in addressing gun violence.

“City officials and community members are calling upon the city’s residents to help explore new ways to work together and to take this challenge head-on,” the release continued. “Through cooperation and collaboration, our community can take a positive step forward to identify and reach at-risk individuals, especially disadvantaged youth, and help them discover ad future full of untapped potential where opportunity is the answer — not guns.”

If you are interested in programs geared toward combating gun violence, you can find a comprehensive list of resources below. These were provided by the Office of Equity, Community and Human Rights.

  • Boyz2Men (mentoring program for middle and high school age youth) // contact: Wayne Turner — yettat@gmail.com
  • Champaign Park District // contact Jameel Jones: Jameel.jones@champaignparks.com
  • Community and Performing Arts // contact Sam Smith: smsmith3@illinois.edu
  • CU Fresh Start (initiative to provide support and resources for those involved in gun-related activity who are 18 or older) // contact Hattie LeNoir-Price: hlenoirprice@rosecrance.org (217) 402-2949
  • Don Moyer Boys & Girls Club (community center providing support for school age youth) // contact Charles Burton: cburton@dmbgc.org
  • DREAAM (Drive to Reach Academic Excellence for Males) // contact Tracy Dace: Tracy@dreaam.org
  • Dream Girls (non-profit organization supporting middle and high school-ages young women) // contact Debarah McFarland: dreamgirlsacademyil@gmail.com
  • First Followers, Inc. (non-profit agency that works to support formerly incarcerated community members) // contact: firstfollowerscu@gmail.com
  • Genuine Intelligent Respectful Ladies Soaring (GIRLS) (non-profit agency supporting middle and high school age young women) // contact Dr. Neffisatu J. C. Dambo: wergirls@gmail.com
  • Ghetto Genius/ Hip Hop Express (delivering support and resources to neighborhoods impacted by violence) // contact Dr. William Patterson: wmpatter@gmail.com
  • Girls2Women (mentoring program for middle and high school age young women) // contact Donyetta Turner: yettat@gmail.com
  • Goal Getters (support for Champaign Unit 4 high school age youth males) // contact Sheldon Turner: turnersh@u4sd.org
  • Housing Authority of Champaign County YouthBuild (job training and skill building for 18 – 24-year-old youth) // contact Lily Walton: lilyw@hacc.net
  • HV Neighborhood Transformation (community-based organization involved in neighborhood organizing and mobilization) // contact Maurice Hayes
  • Midnight Basketball (support and engagement for middle and high school age youth) // contact Rev. Willie Comer: wcomer@yfceci.org
  • Not on My Watch (support and engagement for Rantoul-area middle and high school age youth) // contact Herbert Burnett: soouljah@aol.com
  • Urbana Neighborhood Connections (community center supporting Urbana District #116 students // contact Jamie Mitchell: janice@urbanaconnectionscenter.org
  • Urbana Park District // contact Elsie Hedgspeth: emhedgspeth@urbanaparks.org

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