More ammunition going to Don't Shoot Program

By Denise Jackson

September 25, 2013 Updated Sep 26, 2013 at 9:43 AM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- After a week laced with violence and murder Peoria Police plan to roll out more ammunition in the city's "Don't Shoot" program.

Last week's double homicide and two other murders in Peoria have residents calling again for an end to violence in the river city.

Peoria Police Chief Steve Settingsgaard said, despite a volatile week, this past summer has been much safer compared to the previous three.

"We know it's never gonna go completely away, even the most successful cities that have implemented this and that have been doing it for years still have violent crime, still have gang crime. It's how far can you reduce it," Settingsgaard said.

In the year since the anti-crime program began, Peoria police have cracked down on gangs and repeat violent offenders.

In March of this year authorities arrested 33 people, indicted 10 and seized ammunition, guns and drugs. From April through June police arrested 30 people, conducted 28 parole checks, seized 14 guns, a large amount of drugs and over $47,000 in cash. From July through August there were 50 arrests, 50 traffic tickets issued and police seized more weapons, drugs and cash from drug sales.

"Our responses have to be certain, they have to be swift and severe," said Peoria Police Captain Mike Eddlemon. "We need to have a purpose for everything that we do and it goes back to it's a very small segment that's causing these problems."

Next month, Peoria Police will allow residents and groups the opportunity to help with another component of "Don't Shoot" called "Peoria Community Against Violence".

"We've had so many community members reach out and say how can I help and because of what we want to be able to give each individual the opportunity to do so in a way they feel comfortable with in a way we feel will help the mission and goals," said Peoria Police Department Community Service Coordinator Krista Coleman.

Chief Settingsgaard said the "Don't Start" program that is being instituted in one of the local schools could be the first of its kind in the country. It is targeted at children and teens who might be at a high risk for joining gangs.

The chief said residents can expect to hear more about both initiatives when they begin in October.

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