PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — A recent study by CBS is putting Peoria in the spotlight for the wrong reasons.
The study, based on 2019 data from the FBI, named Peoria the 15th deadliest city in the country with 22.53 murders per 100,000.
Peoria Police said killings stalled in 2020, with the pandemic reportedly driving down murders. But, as the state reopens, the crime rate is rebounding with it.
Becky Rossman, CEO of Peoria Community Against Violence, said 43% of households in Peoria are single moms. She said the absence of male role models and a lack of resources often lead young people to a life of crime.
“Kids who don’t have men in the homes, especially young men, are more likely to drop out of school, end up in prison, substance abuse issues… when you have a lack of resources, those communities are most vulnerable to crime,” she said, adding that the school transient rate is about 25-30% in Peoria.
Rossman said it’s important to be proactive instead of reactive, and PCAV will be launching a street intervention initiative to combat the problem.
“Empirical research shows that [street intervention] has the greatest impact on reducing gun violence. In fact, in Boston it reduced youth gun violence by 79% and that was by ministers going out repeatedly and building relationships and going to high crime areas at peak incident times, and I’m hoping to replicate that,” she said.
District Two Councilmember Chuck Grayeb said increasing the number of police officers should be Peoria City Council’s top priority.
“There is a direct correlation between the amount of crime and the number of officers on the street,” he said.
Grayeb said with more officers, there is proactive policing and quick resolution of cases.
“We’ve got to get the number of police officers up… it’s a big deal,” he said.
The Peoria Police Department is actively recruiting police officers.