Safety Net focuses on strategies to reduce violence

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Working to reduce violence, city leaders hosted another safety net meeting Friday morning.

The network is a working group of 50 organizations discussing strategies to reduce violence in Peoria.

“I don’t see this web-based structure in place that really connects us,” said Peoria Mayor Dr. Rita Ali.

While trying to establish links and a web-based structure, Mayor Ali heard of a private donation of $30-40,000. So the question of the meeting was, “How do you see us spending this money?” Ali asked.

The network debated options such as adding more lighting and cameras in high-crime areas, to model options.

In addition to this donation, the City/County of Peoria Health Department funded Cure Violence’s $25,000 assessment.

“What Cure Violence does, it focuses on a very small geographic area, almost two or three city blocks away in a city,” said the health department’s public health administrator, Monica Hendrickson.

Health department leaders said things were getting started with the assessment shortly.

“We’re looking at the first week of October for more than nine sessions that will hopefully be very open to the public,” Hendrickson said.

She said the goal was to present a report to the public by early November, covering response options and discontinuation models.

Hendrickson said, “They focus on the hot spots and then dive deeper with people into lived experience to understand the big why of what drives it.”

The Peoria Public School District is also involved in tackling teen crime and truancy.

“There are a lot of children who don’t go to school for whatever reason. They must be in school. So working with neighborhoods, neighborhood organizations and parents,” Peoria School Board President Martha Ross said.

Strategies are just getting started, with another Safety Network meeting scheduled for October 8th.

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