PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — A new program designed to reduce violence in hotspot areas may soon be implemented in Peoria and leaders are looking for the community’s input.

In 2022, ShotSpotter alerts, shooting incidents, and homicides are all down in Peoria compared to 2021.

ShotSpotter Alerts: 877ShotSpotter Alerts: 1238
Shooting Incidents: 63Shooting Incidents: 101
Total Homicides: 19Total Homicides: 23
Rounds Fired: 3788Rounds Fired: 4642
Peoria Crime Statistics as of September 26

Although the decline in number, Peoria Police Chief Eric Echevarria isn’t celebrating as the city logged its 19th homicide this weekend.

“19 families have had to bury a loved one and that’s just one too many. One homicide would be one too many,” Echevarria said.

Peoria City/County health administrator Monica Hendrickson said gun violence is a public health issue.

“In Peoria where you see a disproportionate amount of individuals dying at a young age. If that was some type of disease, we would be super focused on it,” Hendrickson said.

To address the issue, the health department is funding an assessment by Cure Violence Global, a public health intervention program that uses evidence-based strategies to tackle violence.

“This is a readiness assessment and it’s really meant to see how a community has the capacity to do this work,” Hendrickson said.

Next week, 9 public workshops will be held at various locations to give community members an understanding of what Cure Violence’s model may bring to Peoria neighborhoods that are the most impacted by gun violence.

“They talk about the overall approach of what this inters, which means having ‘champions’ or these ‘interrupters’ that really focus in the neighborhood to prevent violence from happening. We need to cool down areas, and how we’re going to implement this, how we’re going to measure it, and what expected results we have,” Hendrickson said.

Chief Echevarria said the police department will be part of these conversations surrounding cure violence and any help that addresses gun violence is welcomed.

“Any tool that we can have to combat crime, I will take,” Echevarria said.

Hendrickson said grant funding may be looked at to implement the interventions.

Echevarria said Peoria Police are also planning an initiative within neighborhoods that looks at street lightning needs, removes graffiti, and works to get rid of homes that are beyond repair.