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.
- The City Council approved the Community Gun Violence Reduction Blueprint on February 15, 2022. The Blueprint is a comprehensive strategy to address the root causes of gun violence in Champaign. City staff is now working to implement the Blueprint.
- The City Council approved an agreement for private security services for the Downtown Champaign area from AGB Investigative Services, Inc. The company will provide security services on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights in the Downtown area from late May-December. They provided a visible security presence and aided officers in addressing concerning activities before they could escalate.
- The City Council approved a two-year lease of automated license plate readers (ALPR) and gunshot detection technology (included for one year) from Flock Group, Inc. during their meeting on December 21, 2021. The readers were installed starting in May 2022. The ALPRs have been helpful in providing police with leads in dozens of felony criminal cases – including three homicides – and locating 12 stolen vehicles. Learn more.
- Post-pandemic, Champaign Police reengaged in a series of community engagement events (more than 81 events in 2022), attended meetings, and addressed concerns of neighbors. These relationships have led to community members more frequently sharing crime information with police, which aids in investigations and holding criminals responsible for their actions.
- Council approves the Campus Police Services Agreement which went into effect in October 2022. This gives the University of Illinois Police Department patrol responsibility in the Campustown for a period of two years. This allows CPD to redeploy officers to other areas and allows UIPD to provide direct support to Campustown constituents.
- 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 have provided grant funding to support Crime Stoppers’ Illegal Gun Bounty Reward program to help solve felony crimes involving firearms. In March 2022, the City Council awarded a grant of $100,000 to Crime Stoppers so they could increase their reward amounts for felony gun crimes ($2,500) and homicides ($5,000). Through December 2022, the Illegal Gun Bounty Reward Program led to the arrest of 62 people and the recovery of 72 illegal firearms.
- After gun violence related incidents, City staff arrange a Gun Violence Response Meeting in the specific neighborhood where the incident took place. Interventions and supports are available to the community during these meetings. E&E ensures that there are clinicians, therapists, trauma, and grief counselors on site to provide immediate support.
- Since May 2022, all gun violence related victims have been provided with some level of support through the Community Gun Violence Reduction Blueprint (or provided the option for services).
- Since August 2022, the City’s Justice Victim Advocates (JVA) and CPD have worked collaboratively to provide a holistic approach to victims of gun violence. JVAs work directly with CPD to provide victim advocacy.
- 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.
- The City is working collaboratively with a network of community partners to provide programing to address the root causes of gun violence, including poverty, income inequality, underfunded public housing, under-resourced public services, underperforming schools, lack of opportunity and perceptions of hopelessness, and easy access to firearms by high-risk people.
- 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.
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 a $2,500 cash reward ($5,000 for homicides). Tipsters always remain completely anonymous when providing information to Crime Stoppers. Visit 373tips.com to learn more or to provide an anonymous 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.
Shooting Incident Statistics
As part of the City’s ongoing commitment to transparency and keeping the public informed, the Champaign Police Department is sharing regular updates and historical data about confirmed shooting incidents that took place inside the city limits. New updates will be posted monthly.