PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Community members are applauding the third sweep of the anti-violence initiative set forth by Peoria Police to combat violent offenders.
On Friday Jan. 21, Peoria Police, in partnership with Illinois State Police Air Operations, made 76 stops resulting in 14 arrests. They seized two loaded guns, spare loaded magazine and 33g of cocaine.
Virginia White has lived in the Southside neighborhood since 2005. She said she has seen the neighborhood deteriorate and violence increase.
“I don’t think Peoria is like New York, but its getting that way,” she said.
White said people are constantly causing problems, so its comforting to know police are taking action in such a big way.
“I hope they clear the streets out for senior citizens like me can walk the streets safe. I want to be safe when I walk down the street. And when I come home I don’t want to be like ‘what’s going on out there’ and all that stuff,” she said.
Matthew Slaughter, owner of MSL Barber Lounge on Western Ave., grew up in the Southside. He said the neighborhood wasn’t always violent.
“I think the south end is the heart of Peoria Illinois… There was a lot of unity, neighborhood stores, people stuck together,” he reminisced. “It’s been abandoned for a long time…We have nothing for the people in the south end, and people that are from the south end are afraid to come back to the south end.”
Slaughter said he hopes the anti-violence initiative will bring families and businesses back to the neighborhood.
“There’s no restaurants, there’s no shopping centers…With the help of the police stopping some of the violence, people will probably come back,” he said.