You can learn more about Peoria's Don't Shoot program here:As U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin took his seat next to Police Chief Steve Settingsgaard for a chat about the Don’t Shoot initiative Tuesday, he began with a simple question.
“How are things in Peoria?” asked Durbin, D-Ill.
And the police chief’s brief answer begins to describe the ongoing effect of the anti-gun violence program still in its infancy.
“They’re getting better,” Settingsgaard replied.
Durbin met with Peoria’s key players in Don’t Shoot to hear how the program targets the community’s most violent offenders.
Mayor Jim Ardis, Peoria County State’s Attorney Jerry Brady, U.S. Attorney Jim Lewis and Police Department community service coordinator and Don’t Shoot participant Nikko Clark spoke about their roles in the program.
“Our goal, some people say it’s over the top. Our goal is to make Peoria the safest community in the state, and we’re committed to getting there,” Ardis said. - PJ Star, 4/2/13
And how effective had the Don't Shoot program been in cracking down on gun violence? According to Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis, it's shown some great progress:
Participants of the program also discussed the success they've had with the Don't Shoot initiative:City officials say early numbers for Peoria's 'Don't Shoot' program are positive. U.S. Senator Dick Durbin came to Peoria Tuesday to hear about some of that success as he works through national gun legislation in Washington.
"We've really had a significant chilling effect on those gang gun crimes," said Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis.
Peoria Police Chief Steve Settingsgaard said the city has not seen a gang-related homicide since September. He said all gun crime, except armed robbery, is down so far this year compared to the same time in 2012.
It's a positive report, but officials remain cautiously optimistic that the program will show continued success. - CI News Now, 4/2/13
Durbin applauded the early success of the Don't Shoot program as a great model to help communities decrease gun violence:Krista McCavitt was hired by the police department to coordinate needs of criminals who want help getting out of gang life. She said since the initial call-in she has helped about 30 people with everything from clothing and transportation to education and life skills.
"I'm not making the goals for these individuals, they're choosing the goals that they wish to attain and I will work as hard as they do to help them with that," said McCavitt.
Nikko Clark said he came to that initial call-in and now, through the help of Krista, he is working to turn his life around.
"It's been very helpful, the resources. I got into an urban re-authorization class, as far as job skills training and whatnot, and I just graduated that today," he said. - CI News Now, 4/2/13
Durbin also took the time to discuss with city officials about legislation he is working to help stop illegal gun trafficking:"Take a step back and look at the current system and say, 'what makes sense? How do we avoid these incarcerations and repeat offenders and how do we change their lives?'. What I see here is working," said Senator Durbin. - CI News Now, 4/2/13
I thank Senator Durbin for his ongoing efforts to push through legislation to stop illegal gun trafficking and protect citizens from gun violence. if you'd like to get more information on Senator Durbin's Stop Illegal Trafficking in Firearms Act, S. 54, please contact his office in D.C.:Durbin also explained a piece of gun control legislation the Senate will consider as early as next week. The Stop Illegal Trafficking in Firearms Act, which Durbin helped draft, is aimed at strict federal punishments for straw purchasers, or someone with a clean background who buys a weapon for someone who can’t purchase one legally.
Settingsgaard said many of the weapons used in Peoria’s violent crimes are purchased through this venue or stolen.
“When it comes down to the street crime, that doesn’t add up to 26 people (shot) in one day in most cases, but happens with frequency in every city across America,” Durbin said. “This is part of a whole issue to make this a safer nation without sacrificing our constitutional rights.” - PJ Star, 4/2/13
And if you are a resident of Illinois, feel free to contact any of his local offices:
ROCK ISLAND: 309-786-5173