Editoral 11.16.12: Keeping tabs on community crime developments

After the armed robberies at the beginning of the semester, crime was a major topic of concern and discussion amongst the entire Bradley community. Many wanted to know what else could be done, and how to keep campus more secure.

It is easy to think of Bradley as its own island within the Peoria community. It’s not, as those armed robberies proved. We are integrated within Peoria, and there is no way to completely separate the two.

Crime concerns in Peoria extend beyond Bradley, and that’s something students should be aware of. Over time Peoria has experienced an increase of fatal and violent crimes. Needless to say, Bradley students are not the only ones concerned about their safety, it has been on everyone’s minds. However, Peoria is actively searching for ways to make our community safer.

One project in particular, described in this issue’s article titled “Officers Move in as Select Neighborhood Residents,” will embed community policing efforts in the communities where many students live. There are three locations where live-in officers will be placed, including the West Bluff. This particular officer will be required to live in a neighborhood with a large percentage of students, giving the neighborhood a familiar, trusted face to take its concerns to.

Another program, Don’t Shoot Peoria, is covered in today’s article, “Don’t Shoot Initiative Strives to Decrease Peoria Violence.” In short, the goal of the program is to target some of the players in gun violence and put them on notice. If they cease violent actions, there are resources such as job training and education available to them. But if they continue to engage in illegal activities, they will face severe legal ramifications.

This program has been successful in other cities like Cincinnati, Boston and Indianapolis. After starting the program, Cincinnati saw a 43 percent drop in homicides overall, and Boston had a 63 percent drop in youth homicides. Those numbers are significant, and after a year where 10 people have died from gun violence and 67 others have been shot, it makes sense for Peoria to take a new approach.

Those numbers are hard to swallow, but this is the town we live in. We are a part of it. And those numbers need to resonate with us, too. Beefing up patrols on campus is a good move, one that has happened, but it won’t solve everything. Community-wide efforts can improve things overall, including the areas surrounding Bradley.

Even though the worst of the city violence is not happening on campus, it is still worth educating yourself about the efforts the community is making. Knowing the resources both on- and off-campus can do more than make you feel safer; it can tip you off to who to call and what to look for. And that vigilance is something to keep in the back of your mind living so close to an urban setting.