Gun Violence Prevention and Response
Public safety is the top priority of the Champaign Police Department. The City of Champaign and its community partners, are committed to reducing incidents of gun violence, sharing important crime prevention resources and to assist those impacted and traumatized by violence. The high number of shootings in the community are largely retaliatory, in that one crime perpetuates another. Reducing gun crime requires a continuation of existing strategies but also the implementation of new, innovative approaches that extend beyond traditional law enforcement to help identify and interrupt the cycle of violence. Current crime prevention methods and resources that are being employed have been formed through intelligence-led policing models and a series of targeted initiatives that have been invested in and supported by the City. Community activation and involvement to help change the climate of violence and the mindset of potential perpetrators is encouraged as we all work towards strengthening our neighborhoods and improving our great community.
What is the City of Champaign Doing to Combat Gun Violence?
- The City is very actively engaged with multiple community partners to use a multi-pronged approach to address the root cause of violence, including support for youth and families who are struggling. Law enforcement cannot be the only answer.
- Champaign Police lead the Street Crimes Task Force, a multi-agency unit which has been successful in identifying and arresting individuals involved in gun-related crimes. Dozens of arrests have been made and many illegal guns have been taken off the streets by this team.
- Champaign Police purchased the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network, or NIBIN, that allows for the capture and comparison of ballistic evidence to aid in solving and preventing violent crimes involving guns by helping identify ownership of firearms.
- Champaign Police provide directed patrols based off intelligence-led policing data and routinely participate in neighborhood meetings to help share information, answer questions, and discuss solutions.
- The City leads the Champaign County Community Coalition, a community-wide effort to proactively address issues that can lead to violence.
- The City and the Community Coalition provided grant funding to support Crime Stoppers’ Illegal Gun Bounty Reward program to help solve felony crimes involving firearms. Through Sept 1, 2021, this program has led to the arrest of 32 people and the recovery of 35 illegal firearms.
- A multi-departmental team of City staff meet weekly to develop new ways to improve community safety and wellness through proactive planning and activities.
- The City created anti-gun-violence campaigns that use billboards and radio PSAs to encourage individuals involved in gun violence to use community supports to turn their lives around.
- The City leads the CU Fresh Start initiative, a focused deterrence initiative which uses a targeted approach to identify and address some of the individuals known to be involved in local gun violence and offering them the support and resources they need if they put their guns down and turn away from crime.
- The City leads the Community Violence Response Team (CVRT) which helps neighborhoods dealing with increased gun violence by hosting Neighborhood Safety Forums and giving residents a chance to share their safety concerns and recommendations with law enforcement, community agencies, and local leadership. The CVRT also provides direct support to families in the aftermath of community violence, helping ensure victims’ immediate needs are met.
- During summer 2021, the City held the Lovin’ U Campaign to promote community engagement
through six block parties in neighborhoods that have been negatively impacted by gun violence.
- Strengthening neighborhood bonds and developing neighborhood groups were discussed and promoted to residents who attended.
- The City supports the CU Trauma & Resilience Initiative (CU TRI), which has bolstered the community’s response to families who have been affected by trauma and educates residents about trauma-informed care and resiliency.
The public is reminded of the following resources, support networks and opportunities around the issue of gun violence:
Champaign County Community Coalition: The Community Coalition is a collaborative initiative involving governmental partners, community organizations and members working together to address and solve the community’s most challenging social and economic issues – including gun violence. Each meeting includes a crime update from local law enforcement, and all residents are encouraged to join the discussion to learn more about community advancements, resources and the issues impacting our neighborhoods. Attend one of their public meetings on the second Wednesday of each month. Learn more at champaigncommunitycoalition.org.
CU Trauma & Resilience Initiative (CU TRI): A product of the Community Coalition, CU TRI is a collaborative initiative to improve the community’s ability to respond to families who have been affected by trauma, and to educate the community about trauma-informed care and resiliency. Individuals experiencing trauma and in need of immediate support can call the CU TRI emergency number at 217-673-7122.
CU Fresh Start: CU Fresh Start is a community-led focused approach to deter gun violence. Focused deterrence gives individuals with a history of involvement in gun-related activity a chance to put down their guns and move their lives in a different direction. Referrals can be made to CU Fresh Start to help individuals find a new path forward. Learn more on their website or call 217-403-8876.
Crime Stoppers/Illegal Gun Bounty Reward Program: Crime Stoppers accepts anonymous tips about any criminal activity in Champaign County. Through their Illegal Gun Bounty Reward program, anyone who contacts Crime Stoppers with a tip that leads to the arrest of a person who used a gun during the commission of a felony crime in Champaign County will receive the organization’s maximum $1,000 cash reward. Tipsters always remain completely anonymous when providing information to Crime Stoppers. Visit 373tips.com to learn more or to provide a tip.
Register your Neighborhood: Organized neighborhood groups are essential to fostering community well-being throughout Champaign. Register your neighborhood or group with the City’s Neighborhood Services Department and learn more about your neighbors and take an active role in organizing and leading your neighborhood. Neighborhood groups are also encouraged to reach out and share with law enforcement the problems most directly affecting their neighborhood. Learn more on the City’s website or call 217-403-7070.
Register for the City’s Neighborhood Watch Program. Neighborhood Watch is a great opportunity for communities to help in the fight against crime, as well as to bond through acts of service. Champaign’s neighborhoods are built on the strength of our residents, and every day, situations arise that call upon residents to be the eyes and ears of law enforcement. Learn more on the City’s website or call 217-403-7070.
Report Suspicious Activity: The community is reminded to report all suspicious activity to the authorities. Crime prevention and arrests are often the result of alert residents. By reporting suspicious activity to law enforcement, you can help protect your family, neighbors, and community. Report emergencies and active criminal activity to 9-1-1, and non-emergencies to 217-333-8911.