Working to curb gun violence in the community
December 15, 2021 10:01 AM

Dear Faculty, Staff and Students,

Our community, like many others, has experienced a disconcerting increase in gun-related violence this year. This is a state and national trend, but there is no comfort to be found in that fact by local victims and their families, friends and neighbors.

We have a responsibility to utilize our own resources, expertise and experience to help reduce or prevent community violence.

Throughout the semester, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has been working proactively in close collaboration with Champaign, Urbana, county and state authorities to address these public safety issues. I wanted to share information about new initiatives that our university has implemented to address this violence.

  • We have increased our own patrol presence in campus-adjacent areas, and we have offered additional incident response coverage to our multijurisdictional partners facing staffing limitations. We are working closely with the City of Champaign and the Champaign Police Department to develop plans and identify resources that will provide even more robust and responsive patrol coverage in the spring semester.
  • The university will continue to partner with area police departments as part of the Champaign County Street Crimes Task Force, a multijurisdictional unit that focuses primarily on narcotics issues and gun violence.
  • We have added new technologies, such as license plate readers, and installed additional security cameras in key areas to deter violence and help identify offenders when crimes occur.
  • Our Center for Social & Behavioral Science, with NSF funding, is working with the City of Champaign to develop a new digital app that would help community members report crimes in real time and increase community engagement in violence response.
  • We know violence is often interconnected with inequity, so we are also leading programs to address these issues at their points of origin. Growing out of our Call to Action, we established the Campus-Community Compact to Accelerate Social Justice, which works with the cities to combat systemic racism in our community with six focus areas: accessible technology, community relations, economic development, health, wealth and resilience, inclusive education and workforce development.
  • We have greatly expanded our outreach, educational and support efforts to give students, faculty and staff more resources to look out for themselves and for one another.
  • Our REACH initiative has added licensed social workers to our response teams and empowered them— not officers— to take the lead in addressing mental health-related emergencies.

Unfortunately, there is no easy or fast solution to this crisis— whether locally, regionally or nationally. But we are pledging that our university will be a central part of the community coalition to find one as quickly as possible. Whether community groups, churches, law enforcement, city and county governments, residents of the neighborhoods most impacted or local businesses— this is a community-wide crisis and it demands a community-wide response.

Champaign-Urbana has been a partner in success for this university for more than 150 years and we will do all we can to fulfill our part of that partnership and end this crisis of gun violence.


Robert J. Jones

This mailing approved by:
Office of the Chancellor

sent to:
Academic Professionals, Civil Service, Faculty, Extra Help, Graduate Students, Undergraduate Students, Incoming Graduate Students & Incoming Undergraduate Students
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