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McLean County’s top prosecutor says violent crime is down despite recent murder trials

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Bloomington (WEEK) --- The McLean County State's Attorney says despite the recent uptick in murders in the area, crime stats are actually trending in the right direction.

Over the past 21 months, 11 murder cases have gone to trial in McLean County.

That's compared to a total of 11 cases in the entire decade of 2000 to 2010.

"In 2020 - I hate to even say it - we had a pretty good year," State's Attorney Don Knapp said. "Is it an anomaly? is it a trend? If it is a trend, it is a disturbing trend. Let's hope it's an anomaly, but there's no doubt that 2020 was a bloody year for every county around us."

Knapp's comments come on the heels of Monday's guilty verdict against Hammet Brown.

Brown, 29, was convicted on 8 counts - including murder and attempted murder - stemming from an incident in June 2018.

And earlier this month, Sydney Mays, 24, was found guilty in connection with a triple-homicide.

Assistant State's Attorney Jeff Horve says despite the density of cases over the past few years, morale among law enforcement and prosecutors remains high.

"Quite frankly, it is tiring at times," Horve said. "But at the end of the day, when you get that verdict, and you get a hug from a mother or father whose child was killed, morale can't be any higher because there is nothing more important than that."

In 2012, when Peoria was facing a similar increase - the city launched the "Don't Shoot" program to combat an increase in gun violence.

But Knapp says those types of programs aren't necessary in McLean County.

He and other county attorneys took the time to thank police officers Tuesday.

Harry Croton

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