Mayor Ali championing new community-centric framework for addressing violence in Peoria

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Peoria Mayor Rita Ali is proposing a framework she said will bring the community together to combat violence collectively.

Since January, there have been 21 homicides in Peoria County, according to Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood.

“We have a lot of programming and support, but they’re just all disconnected,” said Ali, referring to the robust number of organizations, programs, and services that focus on reducing violence in the city.

Ali said a new system framework called Safety Network, or S-NET, is being developed that will inform the public, connect the various initiatives and “bring us more closely working together.”

She has put together a 50-person S-NET Steering Committee to use community solutions to help police solve crime. The group meets every two weeks on Fridays.

“[We’re] really kinda coming together to say this is our problem, and we want to solve it with the police and collectively within our community,” she said.

Antwaun Banks, the founder of Product of the Project, an organization that works to deter youth from a life of crime, is a member of the S-NET Steering Committee.

He said S-NET is just what the community needs.

“I think Safety Net would give us a way for people who are looking for resources to find us,” Banks said. “We have a lot of things going on in the community, and S-NET is just a great opportunity for us to get together and bring back the village to raise a child mentality.”

Ali said she envisions the S-NET will be a Google Map with profiles of all 50 organizations containing their descriptions, offerings, and contact information. Ultimately, she said there would be S-NET resident representatives every three blocks, at businesses and at schools “so it becomes a larger community effort to combat violence.”

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