© 2024 Peoria Public Radio
A joint service of Bradley University and Illinois State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

December Safety Network meeting confirms Cure Violence is still on track, focuses on juvenile crime

Peoria Mayor Rita Ali leads gathered community leaders and citizens during the December meeting of the Peoria Safety Network.
Collin Schopp
Peoria Mayor Rita Ali leads gathered community leaders and citizens during the December meeting of the Peoria Safety Network.

The December meeting of the Safety Network, a group of community leaders, citizens and law enforcement working to reduce gun violence in Peoria, confirmed the Cure Violence program is still on track to implementation.

“I think we’ve answered all of their questions,” said Katy Endress, director of epidemiology and clinical services at the Peoria City/County Health Department. “In terms of would this model be a good fit for Peoria? Do we have the organizations that are willing to do the work? Do we have people that can serve as those credible messengers? The answers to those questions are yes.”

Endress says Cure Violence will deliver a readiness report, including a structure for planning and implementing the program in Peoria, sometime next week. She’s confident the report will conclude that the city is a good fit for Cure Violence.

“Then we’ll be pushing out a request for proposals from those community based organizations to look at funding them to be the host sites,” said Endress. “In the communities that are primarily affected by gun violence.”

You can read more about some of the areas already designated as potential targets for Cure Violence here.

Officials with the health department say the applications are expected to be open in January, with awards announced in February. The path to implementation of Cure Violence has been a long one. The City of Peoria initially passed on funding the four-phase readiness assessment,before the City/County Health department stepped in. You can learn more about the Cure Violence program and how it works in an interview with their CEO here.

In the monthly data update from the Peoria Police Department, shooting incidents, shooting victims, shooting murders and all murders between Jan. 1 and Dec. 9 are all down at least 25% compared to last year.

“It’s been great police work, but it’s also been great community work,” said Peoria Mayor Rita Ali. “So police and community working together to not tolerate and reduce gun violence in our community, that’s really making the difference.”

Attendees at the meeting also broke into groups for a work session, outlining more early plans for outreach and the barriers to providing support to Peoria’s most disadvantaged communities. Every single group listed building trust and community buy-in as a potential barrier to providing services.

“It starts with people connecting with people,” said Ali. “It’s about building relationships. So you have to have people with that sensitivity, people that can speak the language, people that have a kind of soft touch, that know how to talk with and approach families in the area.”

Mayor Ali is also concerned about juvenile crime in Peoria. She started the meeting by reading two press releases from the police department detailing incidents where a 15-year old was found with a loaded firearm.

“We need more involvement and engagement from the community, from parents, from role models, we need more intervention,” said Ali. “We need more programs that actually prevent, more prevention type of programming to stop the youth from engaging in gun violence.”

The Peoria Police Department will present more in-depth statistics on juvenile crime at January’s Safety Network meeting. The meeting is at 9 a.m. on Jan. 13 at the Peoria Public Schools Administration building.

Collin Schopp is a reporter at WCBU. He joined the station in 2022.