PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Four people in Peoria have been killed as a result of gun violence in July. Tuesday, the Peoria City Council is meeting to discuss ways to direct funds towards the issue.
Since May, there have been questions regarding if every stone is being turned over to reduce violence in Peoria.
Many of the concerns were raised after the Peoria City Council voted down spending $25,000 to fund an assessment from the organization Cure Violence. Six council members including Tim Riggenbach, Zachary Oyler, Denis Cyr, John Kelly, Sid Ruckriegel, and Chuck Grayeb voted ‘no’.
Monday, WMBD spoke with Riggenbach and Kelly about their vote.
“I think the entire council is in favor of some sort of program that shows promise, that can reduce violence. We have to go at that in the proper way, we have to do that out in the sunshine, we have to do that out in the public,” Kelly said.
“I had people in the East Bluff, the North Valley, African American, white, both reaching out to me, telling me to slow down, we need to look at this closer,” Riggenbach said.
Riggenbach and Kelly said they’re saddened to see the current rise in shootings, and it’s an issue that must be addressed.
“When we start to see 14 and 15-year-olds carrying guns and committing some of these crimes, we know there’s a problem and something needs to be addressed at an earlier age,” Riggenbach said.
As for long-term solutions, Kelly said the city and community should increase their focus on the root causes of violence.
“We have a lot of cultural problems that lead ultimately to violence. Well, violence then is a symptom,” Kelly said. “We’re good at symptoms, we’re not so good at causes,” he added.
Tuesday, the city council will hold a special meeting to discuss how to use what could be upwards of $7 million dollars in state and federal funding for violence reduction.
Riggenbach said while there may be differences of opinion on how the city should tackle violence, the funding must be used in a way that best benefits the city.
“You want to make sure you’re doing it methodically and that at the end of the day when the money’s gone, you’re going to say that worked,” Riggenbach said.
Mayor Rita Ali is also holding a press conference Tuesday morning about the future of the S-Net initiative.