CHAMPAIGN — Police arrested 19 people on Thursday as part of a county-wide sweep targeting people who had outstanding warrants for their arrests.
None of the people arrested were identified on Thursday night, and police did not respond to calls to identify the arrestees.
“Both the city of Urbana and the city of Champaign have experienced shootings and/or homicides, and police officers are responding to reports of shots heard, or encountering individuals in possession of firearms with increasing frequency,” Champaign police spokeswoman Rene Dunn said in a written release.
“In addition, a substantial number of criminals within the area are currently wanted by local police departments and/or have outstanding arrest warrants. This is problematic for our communities, as these individuals often continue to commit crime and victimize residents in our communities.”
Dunn said Champaign police, with the help of the U.S. Marshal’s Service, organized a sweep targeting people with outstanding arrest warrants throughout Champaign County, especially in areas that police identified as “hot spots” for violent crime or calls for service.
Other participating agencies included the Champaign County sheriff’s office, Champaign County Probation Services, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the FBI, state police and the University of Illinois and Urbana police.
Police made 18 arrests during the sweeps detail, with a 19th person arrested in the 100 block of Bellefontaine Street in Champaign, which Dunn said was an area where police have received multiple reports of shots either being heard or fired.
According to a police report, officers responding to a report of an armed subject arrested an unidentified person and recovered a handgun from the person.
Dunn said some of the arrestees had multiple warrants. Others had additional charges filed against them for armed robbery, drug offenses, possession of a stolen vehicle and traffic offenses. One person who was arrested was a fugitive from justice from Hillsborough County, Fla.
“Assuring that we have a safe community is a top priority for us,” Champaign Police Chief Anthony Cobb said in the written release. “Due to the recent acts of gun violence, this joint effort was necessary for us to fully support the needs of residents living in these areas.”