Officials talk crime fighting strategy with community leaders

Local News

DANVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) — City leaders are making moves to reduce the crime they say has been on the rise in Central Illinois. They sat down with the community to talk strategy.

They’re implementing a combination of curfews, raids and summer youth programs. It does seem to be helping, and the city is also looking at re-implementing additional programs which were successful in the past.

People say they’re relieved the city is taking action.

“What attracted me to this town was just the blue-collar environment.”

Working hard and working together.

“It was really great seeing what happened here today.”

Business owners, like Carlos Garcia, say they’re encouraged by steps the city is taking to cut back on crime.

“When you see police officers, you just get a sense of security. It gives them a sense of enthusiasm, like hey, we’re headed in the right direction, and our challenges are being addressed.”

Those challenges can sometimes be clear to people outside the city. City leaders are trying to change that.

“That’s what people are buying into, this community wants to solve this problem, this community wants to be a part of solving the problem, so anytime we speak in front of a group of business leaders or just a group of citizens, the question they always ask is what can we do, how can we be involved?”

It includes programs and community policing, like the problem-oriented police unit, which made over 200 arrests in the last four months.

“I believe it all comes down to whether or not the people are familiar with you, and if you’re out there patrolling, there’s much more likelihood that a witness will respond and give information if there’s a report, if they know the officer and trust the officer.”

That trust is already building.

“Part of what we did here today was opening the door for opportunities that we have here in Danville. It gives us all hope and it brings us together.”

Officials also stressed the importance of their “see something, say something” campaign. They say, without the community’s help and cooperation, it’s much harder to solve cases.

The Danville Police Department is looking to hire about a dozen more officers at the end of this year. They say staffing is their biggest challenge in the wake of retirements and transfers. The department wants officers who will be engaged and involved in the community.

“Most of the police officers, whether or not they were born here and native to Danville, they become part of the community.”

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