PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — An early Tuesday morning shooting in Peoria claimed yet another life, putting Peoria County on track to its deadliest year yet.
Within the span of just eight months, 21 people have died at the hands of another, according to Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood. Eleven of those homicides occurred just in the last three months.
Kari Jones, Executive Director of the East Bluff Community Center, said these incidents affect the entire community negatively.
“Whether you’re directly affected by it, whether you’re a neighbor in a situation where this happened, maybe you’re in a household where you hear gunshots go off on a regular basis, it’s going to take a toll,” she said.
Kids who participate in programs offered by the East Bluff Community Center often do better in school, stay out of trouble, and are able to work well with others.
“When we see kids coming in and having opportunities like that, finding out about passions they didn’t even know they had, it’s just really amazing to see,” she said.
Third District Peoria City Councilman Tim Riggenbach said Peoria City Council is trying to find new ways to tackle the issue of violence.
“There’s a lot of moving parts going on right now. The intensity of the activity has really stirred people to action at multiple levels,” he said.
Jones said when the community is engaged, a reduction in violence will follow.
“We believe that when people are more engaged with their community, they are less likely to not care if something happens to their neighbor. They’re going to be looking out for each other. They’re going to be getting involved in things together, and there’s going to be more of a neighborly-ness and a feeling of ‘this is my community and I want good things for my community,” she said.