Today, the City of Champaign held a press conference to provide an update to the community on the recent increase in gun-related crime. Mayor Deborah Frank Feinen, Police Chief Anthony Cobb, Champaign County Community Coalition Facilitator Tracy Parsons, Rev. Willie Comer of Berean Covenant Church and community member Yvonne Johnson came together to reaffirm and redouble the City’s commitment to addressing these acts of senseless gun violence.
Through July 20, 2020, there have been 95 shooting incidents in Champaign, compared to 49 on this date last year. A shooting incident is defined as any time that police find evidence a firearm was discharged, including the discovery of spent shell casings or damage to life or property. In 2019, the City finished the year with a total of 100 shooting incidents.
Press conference participants urged individuals involved in gun violence to put the guns down and to settle disputes through peaceful solutions. Champaign Police remind the community that they are its greatest partner and are committed to trust building and working with community groups, neighborhood leaders and social service providers to help peacefully reduce the number of shooting incidents. Champaign Police will continue to deploy resources and directed patrols based on its intelligence led policing model to help determine areas of concern in order to deter or mitigate violence. The Champaign County Street Crimes Task Force will also be focusing all their efforts on reducing gun violence.
City officials and community members are calling upon the City’s residents to help explore new ways to work together and to take this challenge head-on. Through cooperation and collaboration, our community can take a positive step forward to identify and reach at-risk individuals, especially disadvantaged youth, and help them discover a future full of untapped potential where opportunity is the answer – not guns.