PEORIA Ill. (WMBD) — Peoria Safety Network members are looking to take a different approach to solve a direct problem.

Leaders and activists within the group are looking to come out of their buildings and onto residents’ blocks in an initiative to help curb violence in the city.

“The Safety Network will initially focus on boots on the ground work in an area on the south side of Peoria,” Peoria’s Mayor Dr. Rita Ali, said.

Ali said after several months of narrowing down the city’s hot spots for gun violence, they identified one particular area they’d like to address first. She said they locked in on 31 addresses in the area of West Marquette Street and West Antoinette Street.

“We are going to spoil that block,” Ali said. “We are going to assess the people, the households, that live in that block and we are going to introduce ourselves, we are going to provide some information.”

Ali said Cure Violence will look at a block in the city’s East Bluff.

She said members of the Safety Network want to go out in pairs or in groups to each home and build relationships with the families and households in that area.

She said after assessing the needs, they’ll connect these residents with resources from the more than 40 organizations that make up the Safety Network.

Ali said these needs could be anything from job, health, environmental, roofing, or wheelchair access needs.

“We’re not talking about a one and done,” Ali said. “We’re talking about going in, connecting in meaningful ways, being very good listeners to find out the needs of these families.”

“Whether there are children in the household, what are the needs of those children and really helping those families to address those needs,” Ali said.

During Friday’s Safety Network meeting, Peoria police gave a breakdown of the city’s crime stats compared to last year. Those stats reflected that the city is currently down in the number of homicides, shootings victims, and gun violence.

Peoria Police Chief Eric Echevarria said he’s backing the Network’s plan to go door-to-door, similar to the police department’s walk and talk campaign.

“I think now the community taking it on their own and saying we’re going to go into an area, figure out what the needs are, and these are the groups that can help fill those needs,” Echevarria said. “I think it’s great for them to get out in the community and do that so I’m very hopeful.”

“It doesn’t happen over night, but collectively we’re beginning to make a difference,” Ali said.

Ali said there’s no exact date on when this initiative will start, but she said they are looking at some early June dates.

She said they want to first find out all they can about who lives in the houses on the designated block.