CHAMPAIGN — Champaign police say they are increasing their presence in areas with high calls for services following a series of shootings in the city.
Champaign police spokeswoman Rene Dunn said on Monday night that Champaign police responded to 12 shooting incidents involving 8 shooting victims and property damage between June 7 and June 28.
Nine people have been arrested so far in connection with these incidents, Dunn said.
Dunn said in a written release that police have identified 38 people who are allegedly involved with gang members who police believe are working together to commit the shootings and other crimes.
“It is also believed that these crimes may be retaliatory and/or drug-related incidents,” Dunn said.
In response to the series of shootings, Dunn said Champaign police have increased their presence in areas where shootings and reports of shots fired have taken place.
Dunn said Champaign police are also working with the Champaign County sheriff’s office, Danville, Urbana and University of Illinois police, the Drug Enforcement Administration, FBI, the Champaign County state’s attorney’s office and U.S. Marshals Service to identify and locate people taking part in the shootings.
In addition, Champaign County Crimestoppers is asking the public to provide tips about the various shootings.
Dunn said Crimestoppers “tip” cards have been distributed throughout the community to teach residents about the ways to report illegal activity.
“We are troubled by the acts of violence occurring in our community, and are grateful that no lives were lost in the crossfire,” Champaign Police Chief Anthony Cobb said in a written release.
Last week, Champaign police issued a public safety announcement warning that police officers plan to take enforcement action against people discharging firearms or illegal fireworks during the Independence Day holiday season.
Dunn said police have also been brainstorming with community members about ways to send antiviolence messages to the public in the wake of the shootings.
In addition, the Champaign Community Coalition is working with other local organizations to organize a series of initiatives to address gun violence, including:
— Creating the Champaign County African-American Safety Net, an organization to increase education and awareness.
— Developing a network of community social workers to provide support teams for families impacted by gun violence.
— Forming neighborhood canvassing teams to pass out information about gun violence and community safety.
“We are addressing these crimes by partnering with community agencies that provide services to high-risk offenders and by increasing our presence in neighborhoods where the shootings have occurred,” Cobb said in a written release. “It will take both the community and police partnering together to stop this violence. We can’t do it alone.”
If you have information on any of these incidents, call Champaign police at 351-4545 or Champaign County Crimestoppers at 373-8477. Information may also be left anonymously at www.373tips.com or by sending a cellphone text message with CCTIP plus the information to CRIMES (274637).
Crimestoppers will pay a reward if the information leads an arrest.