Peoria Public Radio News
5:47 pm
Sun February 2, 2014

Anti-gang funding to help programs like Don't Shoot

Credit Peoria Public Radio
  Illinois ranks number one in the nation per-capita for gang membership with gang members in Peoria outnumber police about two to one. That’s why Illinois Senator Mark Kirk says he worked to get $18.5 million allocated toward suppressing gang activity. 

The money will flow into communities like Peoria mostly through Safe Neighborhoods Grants. 

Senator Kirk says he hopes it will help law enforcement efforts like Peoria’s Don’t Shoot Program that’s focused on detouring gang related violence. “This is a really complicated problem. It needs money. A very serious attack. We have a vision. If I can have Bomb Squad and Zone 4 crushed in Peoria then we have taught a lesson for the whole country that it’s important for Main Justice to note. Let’s make the Peoria miracle happen!”  

Peoria’s Bomb Squad and Zone 4 street gangs are estimated to comprise 300 people along with eight other smaller gangs. Programs the city might be able to obtain the federal grant funds for include expansion of ShotSpotter technology put in place last year as well as something called Human Terrain Mapping. That looks at the patterns of association between urban gangs to make better use of limited police resources.

 The omnibus funding bill also lifts the hiring freeze at five federal law enforcement agencies.