For many of us, Peoria is not our hometown. I’m from St. Louis, and proud, but for the last four years, Peoria has been my home away from home. My city is consistently one of the worst in the nation when it comes to violent crime, and while that is upsetting, having lived there most of my life, I’m just desensitized to it. The whole thing is sad, but it’s just how it is there. So when I heard about the dramatic spike in gun violence here in Peoria, it was more than just disturbing, it was heartbreaking.
I started writing this column Monday afternoon. Little did I know, just hours later the so called bubble was going to pop for good, and there would be two women robbed at gun point in my own all student apartment complex.
So that whole ‘Bradley Bubble’ thing? Yeah, that’s gone. And I’m not surprised, in fact if anything I’m not sure how it took this long to happen. We are a part of the greater Peoria community, and its time to start acting like it. The crimes that happen here are happening to us. When we hear about the murder rate rising this year, those are members of our community who are becoming statistics. Just because it happens past Main and University does not mean we are not part of the story.
Enough pointing fingers at who could have kept this from happening, let’s start talking about how we can stop it in the future. We have a campus full of people who are shaken up and getting sick of the violence, and a city around us that feels the same way.
This is a call to action.
Let’s get involved with the efforts that the city of Peoria is already pushing to curb the violence. Campaigns like “Don’t Shoot Peoria” should not only have support from the university, but active participation. We should be facilitating the talks necessary to promote understanding and find solutions to the problems that are pushing people to the point of robbing a student at gun point for 20 dollars.
Bradley has some great minds studying and teaching here, and a student body that is sick of being afraid to walk home, right? So let’s do something about it.
Kristina is a senior public relations major from St. Louis. She is the Voice editor.
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