PEORIA, Ill. — Peoria has seen a rise in violence over the last couple of weeks and city leaders are looking for answers on how to stop it.
Peoria City Councilman Tim Riggenbach says he hopes the city can highlight positive youth programs it offers and that police can keep illegal guns off our streets.
“The police have taken over 250 guns off the streets this year. All of last year it was like 235,” Riggenbach said.
Riggenbach says the city’s gun violence problem is bigger than just a policing issue.
“When you have 14 and 15-year-olds with guns, this is a society issue. We need to wrap our arms around each other and find ways to reach out to these young people like we never have before,” Riggenbach said.
There are groups in the River City that offer positive alternatives for the youth. In the East Bluff, the resident officer started a group called Lawn and Order which allows kids to work and mow lawns.
There’s also mentor groups in town; one called “It Takes a Village.”
The “Elite Design Group” just celebrated its graduation last week.
Riggenbach says the city should keep all of these programs together in a place easily accessible to the public.
“One of the next steps we need to do is catalog all this stuff. So when you hear a kid say ‘there’s nothing to do,’ say ‘well have you looked at this, this, and this?’ Because there’s a lot of people out there who care, we just need to make those connections,” Riggenbach said.
With city council meeting Tuesday night, Riggenbach hopes to hear some plans moving forward from Peoria police.
“Communicating is the key to it. As we head into the budget process, public safety has never been a higher priority than it is right now,” Riggenbach said.