Champaign, Ill. (WCIA) — “We don’t want people solving their conflict with gunfire,” Tracy Parsons with the Champaign County Community Coalition said.
One Central Illinois town is trying to figure out how to get people to lay the guns down.
Police say the gun violence is increasing for a variety of reasons. They range from social media disagreements, to late night group gatherings, but these reasons and more are making community leaders take action.
“I try to put myself in the shoes of the victim, or people who live in a neighborhood that might be effected by this, and I want them to know that we’re doing our best,” Lieutenant Geoff Coon, Champaign Police Department, said.
Shootings in Champaign have risen each year. Last year there were 28 shots fired incidents from January 1st thru April 8th. Champaign has already had 52 gun shot incidents this year for the same time period.
“As far as I’m concerned one shot’s too many, whether somebody loses their life over it or they get injured or even just property damage, no body should have to deal with that in their neighborhood or from a personal standpoint,” Lt. Coon said.
Police are working to stop the violence. They have patrols in areas impacted by gun violence. They’re utilizing their street crime task force and investigating to find the individuals involved with shootings.
“We are making an impact and we wanted the community to know that we do recognize the problem,” Lt. Coon said.
They say its a group effort.
“It really requires all of us as a community coming together, putting our heads together, to figure out what we can do to eliminate this from our community,” Parsons said.
The Champaign County Community Coalition hopes to have people come together to get rid of gun violence in the area.
“These random acts of violence are so destructive that we have to keep our residents and our neighborhoods and our community members safe as our priority,” Parsons said.
“I just want the community to know that we’re out there for them. They can trust us, they can count on us to address these issues,” Lt. Coon said.
Police told me a lot of times people are too afraid to speak up if they know something. They encourage people to call Crime Stoppers if they want to remain anonymous. They say if people speak up, they could help stop the violence.
Here’s a look at the gun violence stats:
Total number of shots fired from January 1st thru April 8 time frame:
- 2019- 22
- 2020- 28
- 2021- 53
Individuals struck for 1/1 – 4/8:
- 2019- 8
- 2020- 4
- 2021- 6
Property damage for 1/1 – 4/8:
- 2019- 12
- 2020- 16
- 2021- 25
Homicides 1/1 – 4/8:
- 2019- 1
- 2020- 1
- 2021- 0
Champaign finished with 189 shots fired incidents in 2020 for the entire year.