PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The Peoria Police Department is reporting overall crime is down 21 percent in 2020 compared to 2019, but the good news comes with a disclaimer.

Chief Loren Marion said while reports from January through Nov. 3 show overall crime is down, the number of shootings is up. Marion said there have been 106 shooting incidents, 134 shooting victims, and 13 homicides in 2020.

“We have had a few incidents in this past year where we’ve had multiple people hit, unlike we’ve seen before,” said Chief Marion.

Marion said despite the COVID-19 pandemic and shutdowns, it’s been a busy year for the department.

“We’re still seeing the same crimes. I don’t think the pandemic is shaping different crimes and stuff,” said Marion.

He said crimes against people are down two percent compared to 2019 and property crimes are down 25 percent. But Marion said those statistics don’t show the full picture.

“It’s a little deceiving because property crimes drive these numbers, so when we have our burglaries and our vehicle burglaries, vehicle thefts,” said Marion. “Our shootings are up, so that is a concern for me and the police department. Last year at this time, we had 92 shooting victims and 78 incidents.”

He said the department uses a focused deterrence strategy to find out who or what is driving violence.

“Once we get individuals identified, we are able to give them services through our focused deterrence project manager to try to get them out of the life of crime they are leading,” said Marion.

Still, Marion said it’s an unattainable goal to have a city the size of Peoria with zero crime. He said looking at the five-year average, violent crime is up 31 percent and property crime is down 19 percent.

The five-year overall crime average is down 12 percent.

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