PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – Peoria city leaders are calling for an end to gun violence after a recent string of shootings.
There’s been 23 homicides in Peoria within the first nine months of 2021, the latest happening Monday at a Stop & Save convenience store.
Peoria City Council members said gun violence plaguing the city has to end.
“It just breaks your heart. I mean there’s no way around it. This gun violence is unacceptable,” said Tim Riggenbach, 3rd District councilman.
“People in this city don’t ask for much. They want to be able to live in their neighborhoods without the fear of gun violence,” said Chuck Grayeb, 2nd District councilman.
As for solutions, Riggenbach said one of the first steps is looking at root causes.
“Everybody’s got their ideas but if you look at what’s causing it, it helps us to better formulate ideas for fixing it,” Riggenbach said.
To reduce gun crime, Riggenbach believes it will take a change of attitude, and he said that doesn’t happen by just putting more officers on the streets.
“As we see what’s happening in our high schools and the number of juvenile arrests taking place, we have to reach these kids at a younger and younger age,” Riggenbach said.
On the other hand, Grayeb said Peoria Police must partner with other law enforcement agencies.
“How can you get on the front side of a lot of this if you basically have officers running from call to call to call?” Grayeb questioned.
He also explained the federal government should play a role in reducing gun violence as well.
“We have a lot of federal help coming right now to do all kinds of things, and one of the great needs in our city is rounding up these hot guns,” Grayeb said.
Grayeb said a breaking point has been reached, and it’s time for those involved in gun violence to face consequences.
“A day of reckoning is here. Their days of doing whatever they want to are coming to a close,” Grayeb said.
Riggenbach said much like how gun violence became an issue in the city that solutions will not happen overnight, but he said actions like reaching youth with programming and mentors will pay off in the long run.