Council members explain their votes on the ‘Cure Violence’ assessment
PEORIA (Heart of Illinois ABC) — In a tight 6-5 result Tuesday night, the Peoria City Council voted not to invest in a nationally recognized “violence healing” program.
The Chicago-based group Cure Violence Global wants $25,000 to do an assessment where they will identify areas suffering the most from violence.
“This community has $7.95 million in violence interruption money — we want to start using it quickly,” 2nd District Councilman Chuck Grayeb said. “We don’t think we need outsiders to assess Peoria, to tell us where our trouble spots are. It’s ridiculous.
CVG uses a method of research and evidence, and shows positive results – claiming it has helped alleviate violent neighborhoods in cities like Chicago and St. Louis.
“If it works successfully in all of these other areas, why don’t we give it a chance here in Peoria?” said 1st District Councilman Denise Jackson. “That’s a question that really baffles me.”
Jackson believes CVG can only help and strengthen the initiatives that Peoria already has in place.
Grayeb, however, thinks Peoria is already past the evaluation phase. He says his interest lies in directly addressing hotspots of violence.
“Targeting minors for example – working with schools, having safe passage areas. But we have to do it the right way, and we can’t favor one group over another,” Grayeb said.
Grayeb says other anti-violence initiatives should be able to make their case before any decisions are made.
“We need to put out tenders – requests for proposals – for the sake of transparency,” Grayeb said.
CVG could still bring its services to Peoria if it responded with another proposal, and Jackson says whether it’s CVG or a Plan B, the city council needs to act quickly.
“We are able to bring (the violence) under control and do something about it. So let’s move forward instead of backward,” Jackson said.
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