The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

June 27, 2013

Help stop the violence


DANVILLE — Area ministers want to tap into the power of the public to help Danville police put a stop to gun violence in the city.

Police officers have investigated 16 shootings so far this year, with four of them resulting in fatalities.

Pastor Thomas Miller of New Life Church of Faith has served as spokesman for the group of ministers who have organized a strategy meeting for 9 a.m. Saturday at Mt. Zion Word of Life Church, 1535 E. Fairchild St.

The meeting will be open to all who want to share ideas on how to stop the violence.

Public Safety Director Larry Thomason told city aldermen during a meting this week that one of the problems his department faces is a lack of information coming from residents.

Police cannot stop this type of random shootings alone. Several of those injured by bullets have been some distance away from the shooter and likely were not an intended target. Police need witnesses to step up and provide leads for investigators.

Police also have implemented a plan to put more patrol officers on the streets in an effort to increase their visibility.

This is not a problem Danville faces alone. Champaign officials have seen an increase in shootings as well, including six in one weekend.

Every residents wants to feel safe in his or her neighborhood. Everyone should be able to step outdoors without being concerned a stray bullet will come whizzing by.

Those concerned about stopping the violence should join Saturday’s session. And those who have information should share what they know before someone else is hurt.