Rise in gun violence in Rantoul, community members respond

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RANTOUL, Ill. (WCIA) — Gun violence is on the rise, and local communities aren’t spared from this trend. Leaders in Rantoul held a meeting today, giving voice to those wanting to help combat the problem.

Rantoul is separated into six districts. Community leaders and Rantoul police say district two on the southeast side has the most gun violence.

Leaders don’t want to paint the picture that the area is riddled with crime, but they also don’t want it to get out of hand.

“Having a voice is critical and to do it in an organized manner, you can begin to address the problem,” said Regina Crider.

Regina is the trustee elect for Rantoul’s district two. She’s lived in the area for 15 plus years and says she’s never seen anything like this before with the spike in crime and gun violence.

She organized a meeting for members of the community to attend where people could voice their concerns.

“And we want to sit down and have a rich dialogue and I want to hear, what are your thoughts, what do you think the problem is, how can we address this problem,” said Crider. “I think when people feel heard, then they’re willing to get in and be part of the heavy lifting.”

Crider says progress can happen only with the help of Rantoul police.

She says it’s all about collaborating.

Police say they want to work hand-in-hand with community members to help face the issue.

“Put forth an effort to see what we can do when we all come together collectively and get creative and say what we can do to kind of solve a problem that we are seeing,” said Christina Reifsteck, a sergeant at the Rantoul police department.

About two dozen people came to the meeting.

Crider led the discussion with questions about how to make the district safer.

Participants also talked about the importance of unity during these times and having a space for people to talk, especially if they have connections to the gun violence.

“We want to curtail it early, nip it in the bud,” said Crider. “Families need to be safe, children need to be safe, and we want people to know that this is a safe community.”

We asked police for numbers about the violence. They weren’t able to give us specifics, but say teens and young adults are involved.

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