Peoria County Sheriff's Office: "Don't Shoot" Initiative
"Don't Shoot" is an aggressive, multi-strategy approach to reducing violent gun crimes in Peoria. This anti-gang, anti-gun violence program is designed to save lives by decreasing the number of shootings and violent crimes. It is modeled after a concept found in the book "Don't Shoot. One Man, A Street Fellowship, and The End of Violence in Inner-City America" by David Kennedy.
Peoria County Sheriff Mike McCoy joins Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis, Peoria County State's Attorney Jerry Brady, the U.S. District Attorney's Office, and the Peoria Police Department in this initiative to battle violence in the City of Peoria. In addition to law enforcement and the court system, this program brings together outreach specialists, community leaders, and the media to help stop the violence.
When the program was launched in Peoria in 2012, it was one of more than 70 similar initiatives in the nation. Since its inception, the City of Peoria has experienced a significant decrease in gun violence, with a 71% decline in shooting fatalities from 2010 to July 2014, and a 59% reduction in the number of shooting victims for the same time period. In addition, the County jail is housing 96 fewer inmates this summer (2014) compared to the same time last summer; a reduction that can be partly attributed to Don't Shoot in that gun crime is down and the right people are being targeted and arrested.
To date, the focus has been on gangs. During periodic "Call-ins," gang members are brought together and reminded that if one member commits a violent crime, all members of the gang will be held accountable. Now, in addition to entire gang memberships, the most violent, individual offenders are being targeted to reduce the violence in Peoria even more.
Much of the success of the program rests with the community. Peoria residents are not tolerating the violence any more. They have formed Peoria Community Against Violence (PCAV), a volunteer citizens group committed to reducing violent crime. Their mission is to build a safe community for all, and violence has no place in such a community. Their goal is to develop a comprehensive, community-wide strategy to reduce violent crime. And they welcome volunteers from the general public, neighborhood associations, faith-based organizations, and community service agencies. To join PCAV, contact Krista Coleman at (309) 494-8233 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Krista is the Community Services Coordinator for Don't Shoot Peoria.
An update on the "Don't Shoot" program was presented July 28, 2014.