PEORIA, Ill -- So far this year in Peoria, there have been over 600 gun-related crimes.
Peoria has also seen 9 homicides almost 9 months into 2012. David Kennedy, the author of 'Don't Shoot', says Peorians don't have to live like this anymore.
"It is not perfect, it is not miraculous, but it works and it can make a big difference," said Kennedy of his anti-gun strategy.
In fact, if Kennedy's 'Don't Shoot' approach is used appropriately, he said it is common for a city to see a reduction in shooting crimes by about 60 to 70 percent.
Kennedy said every city takes his basic outline and figures out a way to implement it.
First, police will target key groups, the people responsible for the majority of Peoria's criminal activity. Peoria police chief Steve Settingsgaard says they have already identified several prominent gangs they will approach. Second, they will bring in one or two people from each of these identified crime groups for a major intervention.
"We're going to talk to you for an hour. Take what you hear back to your group because it's a new day and everybody in your group needs to understand what we're about to tell you," said Kennedy.
The intervention meeting will include community and family members appealing to an emotional side. Social service providers will also be there to offer their help in any way needed. Finally, law enforcement will lay down some basic rules.
"This is not a negotiation, the shooting stops today. When you walk out there, the next group that puts a body on the ground everybody here, state, local, federal, everybody is going to make that group a special project," said Kennedy.
Kennedy says police may even have to hold up that promise several times to make a lasting impact.
Peoria officials say all the hard work will be worth it if they see the results that other cities are seeing, sparing lives from gun violence.
For more information visit http://www.dontshootpeoria.com/