"Do I feel that poverty impacts gun violence? It absolutely does."

State's Attorney Jerry Brady & others work to combat the cycle of poverty

PEORIA, Ill. - Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis calls poverty the most important topic in our community. He says it's what's driving the crime in Peoria.            

Both Ardis and Peoria County State's Attorney, Jerry Brady, agree that the root cause of many of the challenges facing the city is poverty.  Even though it has their full attention, they say it's not something they can solve alone.

"Do I feel that poverty impacts gun violence? It absolutely does." Brady said.

Brady has seen many of Peoria's gun-related violence cases come across his desk.

"That 1% is the number that are committing most of the violence." Brady explained.

Brady, along with local law enforcement, and the city say the direct connection between poverty and crime has helped them set their sights on specific areas and subjects of concern.

"The 61605 area code, we know that's the gang location for some we know there are shot spotter alerts there we know there are cars shot there.” Brady said.

City leaders say they're doing their part to stop violence, implementing programs like Don't Shoot and Shotspotter, and working with Peoria Public Schools. In the past 5 years, the city has seen overall crime decrease by 11.5%, but it doesn't stop there.

“If we work together to address poverty in our community as the root cause of many things that hold us back, we will be much better off. This is not an endeavor for a few, it requires us all." Mayor Ardis said.

That task is two-fold. It takes the public speaking out when they see something.

"When more people come forward as a group, our cases get much stronger." Brady said.

The leaders also say it’s imperative for the community to step up and join the conversation to stop violence.

"As the more violent crime goes down you're going see a change and betterment in the community." Brady said.

Mayor Ardis and State's Attorney Brady commend organizations like the Peoria Community Against Violence.

Reporting information to Crimestoppers, anonymously, is another way to help the city out in its efforts. Brady says Helping Hands is another important organization, helping individuals with re-entry into society.


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