PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Cure Violence Global leaders tout a 40% decrease in crime across cities that have implemented strategies, and they’re hoping to bring similar success to Peoria.
“I am very excited about this just because this is a health issue first and foremost, if you put it in context about the fact that [violence] is a leading cause of death among individuals under the age of 35 in our community. And this is county wide,” said Monica Hendrickson, public health administrator for the Peoria City/County Health Department.
Cure Violence has been utilized in 30 cities across the country, with an average 40% decrease in shootings and killings when implemented.
Right now in Peoria, city leaders are focused on getting requests for proposals from community organizations working to lower violence.
“The goal is to give the elected officials/Department of Health being the oversight agency thus far, with the information they need to determine how many sites to stand up in Peoria, as well as what additional advocacy needs to be done to ensure there is proper community awareness,” said CEO of Cure Violence Global Dr. Frederick Echols.
Finding a local organization to be a Cure Violence advocate should take about two months, and in the summer, the goal is to hire Peoria residents that have lived in high violence areas to then go back into those communities and share their own stories.
Cure Violence Global leaders said the East Bluff or the South End specifically should be the focus in starting the low violence trend.
Pastor Marvin Hightower said it’s important to hire people who have been affected by violence in those areas. “Someone who has been there, have done that, served their time and now wants to help the community. Somebody who knows what the streets are doing and what the streets are saying and know how to interact with individuals who are in the street,” said Hightower.
He also said this has been a long time coming, and he’s excited to see where Cure Violence takes Peoria.
“Some people said this meant 16 years that they’d been waiting on something like this to be implemented. So the will is here, and I believe we are getting ready to take that step,” said Hightower.
City leaders said it’s important to remember that Cure Violence isn’t going to replace law enforcement or mental health services, but will address violence, as well as the individuals involved in violence.