Tuesday, May 24, 2011

We're Not Through Yet!

As the summer season of 2011 is upon us the Peoria Association Of Pastors is seeking to increase community awareness in effort to stand against crime and violence to hopefully turn the tide of fear that has taken our community in recent times.

Peoria Crime At A Glance

According to a 2010 Peoria Journal Star report crime in the basic 8 categories in 2009 consisted of:

  • 16 homicides
  • 414 robberies 
  • 624 aggravated assaults 
  • 62 arsons, 
  • 1,645 burglaries
  • 97 criminal sexual assaults 
  • 3,437 thefts 
  • 374 motor vehicle thefts
In contrast, all crimes, except for murder and the number of shootings, were down in 2010. According to the Peoria Police Department compiled statistics, the number of crimes in the same categories were as follows:

  • 22 homicides
  • 307 robberies
  • 560 aggravated assaults
  • 61 arsons
  • 1,473 burglaries
  • 49 criminal sexual assaults
  • 3,477 thefts
  • 179 motor vehicle thefts

The arrest of both first time offenders (1,478 {down 24%})and repeat offenders (5,985 {down 8%}) decreased from 2009 levels. Although the numbers decreased, many citizens were not convinced that life in the city was any more safe because of the number of shootings. According to the city Crime View statistics,  in 2011 there has been already over 240 incidents involving unlawful possession, sale, or use of a firearm or other deadly weapons, and 5 murders or homicides. The greatest thing to fight is apathy and the reluctance to get involved in helping to reverse the murder rate.

Who Is Responsible?

One question that we wrestled with last year was "why are there so many shootings and murders?" There were any number of answers including gang retaliation, drug and territorial wars and just plain old loss of common sense. One of the best deterrents however are citizens that band themselves together and demand that their living conditions be as descent and safe as possible. That is what we are trying to promote this year. Citizen unity and vigilance against the negative influences in their neighborhoods and communities that if left unchecked will have a further negative impact on their families and children.

In 2011 we will continue to spread the word of Community Hero and ask citizens to continue to stand strong, speaking to their children, relatives and friends and do what we can do to help support these families and individuals in the best way possible while they take a stand.
What Can We Do?

The Establishment Of A Community Hero Fund:

Although I have talked and circulated the word among certain individuals, we have yet to push this idea forward. That is changing as of now. We are asking the public to contribute to the Community Hero Fund. This fund has two primary purposes:

First, the fund will be conducted similar to Peoria Crime Stoppers but at significantly lower levels and targeted specifically towards Heroes that deliver information that lead to the arrest and conviction of individuals who have committed murder.

Secondly, the fund will also address some of the most basic needs associated with the surviving family of homicide victims. Currently within Peoria, there are no city sponsored victim services such as services for clean up, emotional and psychological referral or for temporary housing for those who fear reprisal. Families of victims who suffer homicide are totally on their own as they try to rebuild their lives. We would like to address those issues and change that, by contributing to the acquisition of fundamental resources to families that have faced and endured the tragic loss of loved ones.

The fund will not be geared to provide comprehensive resource in these areas, but it will be geared to help relive and address some of the stress and strain normally associated with murder and untimely death. Having experienced this aspect of crime and violence within Peoria personally, I am in a position to know what some of the gaps are in  this area.

Support The Fund

Contributions toward this fund can be made by Paypal. If you use Paypal, please complete the contribution form and indicate COMMUNITY HERO FUND so that we may direct 100% of the contribution to that area. We will provide a charitable contribution receipt for all contributions made. You may also contribute by mailing a check to the following address:

Peoria Assn. Of Pastors
Attn: Community Hero Fund
P.O. Box 6167
Peoria, IL. 61601

Contributions of any amount are greatly appreciated and will be used for the purposes stated above.