DECATUR, Ill. (WAND)- Workers have removed two billboards comparing Decatur’s crime rates to those in neighboring cities.
The billboards were part of a Limitless Decatur campaign called Know It. Learn the Truth About Decatur. One, at the intersection of Brush College Road and East Williams street read “Decatur is Safer than Springfield.” Another, at the intersection of 27th and East Faries Parkway read “Decatur is Safer than Champaign.” Both cited FBI crime statistics from 2018.
Monday afternoon, a reporter saw a worker removing the sign at Brush College and found the sign at 27th removed.
Other signs remain, including one that reads “Property and violent crime in Decatur is at a 20 year low,” and another that reads “Decatur has the highest hourly wages in the region.”
The signs comparing Decatur to neighboring communities drew criticism on social media over the weekend, including a post from Art Farm owner Peggy Baity.
“Extinguishing another’s candle will not make yours shine brighter, Decatur,” Baity wrote. “I for one have a strong working relationship with the people of Champaign and a strong admiration for their city and the hard work and creativity they put into making it such a wonderful place to be.”
The marketing manager for Limitless Decatur and Macon County was traveling and unavailable for comment Monday, but Limitless responded to criticism online:
“This campaign is very direct, and it needs to be,” they wrote. “We know that perceptions about Decatur’s crime rates, wages, career opportunities and others are still a major hindrance to employee recruitment and citizen retention. We ran a softer campaign about our crime rates several years ago and it was definitely helpful in correcting that perception, but we know that our messaging this year needs to be direct.”
They pointed out the billboards in question were among ten posted.