Increased security at Taft Homes this Fourth of July

By Joe Bennett

July 3, 2013 Updated Jul 3, 2013 at 11:25 AM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- For a third consecutive year, there will be increased police presence at the Taft Homes on Independence Day.

The Peoria Housing Authority has had to call police to contain the crowds there in recent years.

In 2011, a group of non-residents set off fireworks in a dumpster before aiming the small explosives at firefighters.

Peoria Police were at the Taft Homes throughout July Fourth last year to prevent a similar occurrence. Still, there were problems after police left.

This year, police say they will be onsite and on-watch indefinitely.

"We have preventative measures in place to make sure that our residents are safe,” says PHA CEO Brenda Coates. “The only way that we can do that is to make sure that we have police on site."

This year, police will only let residents park on Taft Homes property. They will also work with PHA security to be on the lookout for non-residents.

"This is a holiday we want you to enjoy, but unfortunately, because of past incidents, we do need a police presence at Taft Homes at this time,” Coates says. “Certainly if this improves in the future, it may not be needed."

Coates says she wants residents with families to feel safe on Independence Day.

There will be a family-friendly cook-out for residents only at noon to kick-off the Fourth of July celebration.

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