Police develop new process to curb violent crime

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CHAMPAIGN--Law enforcement entities in Champaign County are developing a community-based process to round up the most violent offenders in the area and let them know that if they don't clean up their act, law enforcement is going to crack down hard.

"In my career in law enforcement, I don't recall there being this level of activity in Champaign with specifically relating to gun related crimes," said Lt. Dave Shaffer, of the Champaign Police Department.

In the next town over, Urbana Police Chief Pat Connolly tracks how many of these crimes happen across the county.

"I think we're at 95 now since February," said Connolly.

That's when Connolly teamed up with other, nearby chiefs of police, as well as prosecutors, and even the FBI to come up with a plan aimed at reducing the increasing violence on our streets by targeting the most violent, repeat offenders in the area.

"All of the different entities in that community are going to get together, we're going to offer some options. And also talk about the consequences should they choose to continue in the violent behavior," said Connolly.

The process is still being developed and will likely be modeled after similar initiatives in Rockford and Peoria.

The goal is to call-in these criminals offer them opportunities, like affordable housing or job training, in exchange for giving up their lives of crime. Because the message officers want to send is that this senseless violence needs to stop.

"These rounds are accountable at some point when they miss their target and they endanger everybody else that's going about their business," said Shaffer.

"These five or six shooting events that we encountered in February, actually there were like 68 rounds fired into homes where we identified 27 kids inside these homes," said Connolly.

Police hope to have this process at work in the streets of Champaign County by February of next year.

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