PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Safety Network members have been trying to figure out problems and solutions to violence in Peoria for the past year and a half.
At Friday’s meeting, members began discussing which neighborhoods they planned to go to, who to talk to, and how to lower violence.
They focused on violent hot spots, and attendees discussed how they plan to infiltrate neighborhoods to make a change.
“I think they want to take ownership of what’s going on, and that’s great. It’s our community. It’s everyone’s community. And we should all be a part of the answers and part of the solutions to what’s going on,” said Peoria Police Chief Eric Echevarria.
The group had their eyes set on Starr Street and Griswold Avenue on the south side of Peoria and focused on community outreach.
“It shouldn’t just be the police department doing it,” said Echevarria. “Sharing resources and sharing information, as well as the key stakeholders, and our non-for-profits and other groups that are in here have resources that they are going to offer our community.”
Attendees also covered intervention and support for the areas facing high crime. The group plans to head into those high-violence communities, going door to door with intervention solutions, in January.
Another topic of discussion at the meeting was the Cure Violence assessment.
“Everyone’s really coming together to try to problem solve and find other solutions that are going to help reduce the gun violence in our community,” said Katy Endress, director of epidemiology and clinical services at the Peoria City/County Health Department.
After the health department paid for the $25,000 Cure Violence assessment, Cure Violence representatives had to complete four phases: workshops about Cure Violence, finding those impacted by gun violence, engaging community organizations, and a final report back to the health department.
“So throughout that second phase in the process, we learned that it really is interpersonal conflicts that are fueling the gun violence in our community,” said Endress.
Soon, community-based organizations will be able to send proposals to the health department to work on community outreach.
The health department hopes to have an update on the next steps for Cure Violence the week of Dec. 12.
The next meeting for the Safety Network will be Jan. 6, at 9 a.m.