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Community speaks out: East Bluff residents meet with police to discuss violence

Peoria’s 15th homicide was the latest it what seems like a string of violent incidents in the city’s East Bluff. Residents of that neighborhood got to speak out on how it’s effecting them Monday night with Peoria Police.

Many were emotional when reflecting on the violent summer, police agreeing there is no doubt a reason for concern.

“The neighborhood is angry, is scared.”

This was just one of the fifty voices that spoke with police about crime in the East Bluff.

Peoria Police describe this eight block radius as the most troubling area.

Former resident and Peoria Police Captain, Douglas Theobald, said he has seen the increase in violence, but not for lack of boots on the ground.

“As far as patrol officers we have more officers assigned to the east bluff geographically than anywhere else in the city between the neighborhood officers, all the different shifts but that being said those of you who live here, more would be better would it not.” said Theobald

Assistant Chief Michael Mushinksy said the department in going to add a district car that had been moved to the south side of the city back to the East Bluff.

He said they are also putting their street crimes unit in the East Bluff for the next 30 days.

They said they’ve seen success in confiscating weapons with 230 collected so far this year. That’s the same amount collected all of last year.

However, they said age of the offenders is making it hard to do more.

“Unfortunately some of the offenders up here have been very young and doing violent crime at a very young age which obviously bothers us when we have 14 year olds carrying guns, 15 year olds carrying guns.” said Mushinksy

While residents understand things can’t change over night, they hope parents take responsibility.

“I don’t think this meetings going to change anything. I mean my thing is It starts at home and if you’re not cracking down on your kids at a young age this is what they go to at the end and police can only do so much.” said Michael Cook, a lifetime resident of the East Bluff.

Peoria Police said they have been planning to increase patrols when school gets out for the day as some parents at the meeting were concerned about safety.

They told residents to not turn their back on youth in the community.

Kaitlin Pearson

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