Lt. Robert Rea
STREET CRIMES TASK FORCE UPDATE
Spearheaded on June 2, 2015 in response to increased gun violence, the multi-jurisdictional Champaign County Street Crimes Task Force has provided progressive outreach to the community and has been instrumental in identifying several individuals involved or reported to be involved in gun-related activity.
Foot patrols, vehicle stops, field interviews, narcotics-related investigations, and firearms-related investigations are some of the direct efforts the Task Force has taken to identify known offenders and their associates. Ultimately, the team seeks to help diminish the number of illegal guns on the streets and the number of shooting incidents in area-neighborhoods.
Champaign Police Sergeant Matthew Henson, who assists with the daily operations and supervision of the Task Force, attributes the progress to collaborative leadership.
“It’s still early to effectively measure outcomes, but we’ve had some positive results that are reflective of our outreach efforts,” shared Sergeant Henson. “Having this level of collaboration and commitment from our surrounding law enforcement agencies is a significant advantage for addressing the gun violence.”
The Task Force has provided supplementary patrol at summer festivals and recurring patrol in neighborhoods including Garden Hills, Oakwood Trace, Douglass Park, and Bristol Park in Champaign, and in Scottswood and Prairie Green areas in Urbana. The team has also worked directly with area-agencies on recent shooting investigations to locate connected subjects and to assist with follow-up investigations. The FBI and the Champaign County Corrections Division has also provided outreach support to the local efforts.
Another advantage, possibly more so than the aforementioned, is the assistance of the community in coming forward with information. Task Force members have been building rapport within the community, making contact with citizens, providing them with information about Crime Stoppers, and encouraging their partnership in keeping neighborhoods safe. Officers have received tips for some incidents that highlight how a small amount of information can make a difference in an investigation.
“We’ll continue to be strategic in our efforts and will keep our focus on fostering safer neighborhoods, step by step; and we want all of our citizens to take those steps with us, for a greater impact,” added Sergeant Henson. “You never know if you have a missing piece of information that gets Police that much closer to solving a crime and potentially keeping your neighborhood protected from violence.”
The Task Force, which is supported with membership from the Champaign Police Department, Urbana Police Department, University of Illinois Police Department, and the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office, is scheduled to operate through September 6, 2015. At that time, officials will evaluate the initiative and any opportunities for the membership to continue beyond the date. Task Force officers will continue to provide patrol and gun-related enforcement and investigations for the remainder of the summer.
The below table highlights examples of the Task Force’s activity totals for its first eight weeks of operation:
Evidence Seized/Arrests Made:
Recovered Stolen Vehicles: 1
Cannabis: 38.41 grams
Powder Cocaine: 12.9 grams
Crack Cocaine: 11.76 grams
Heroin: 1.48 grams
Search Warrants: 2
State Warrants: 8
City Warrants: 7
State Arrests: 15
City Arrests: 8