News Local/State

Community Coalition Introduces ‘C-U Fresh Start’ Anti-Violence Plan

A handgun is on display during a seminar on gun violence in Springfield, Ill.

The cities of Champaign and Urbana have reported more than 125 incidents of gunfire since February 2015. (Sean Powers/Illinois Public Media)

The cities of Champaign and Urbana have seen increased gun violence over the past several years, with law enforcement reporting more than 125 incidents of gunfire reported in the two cities between February 2015 and February of this year.  Champaign Community Relations Coordinator Tracy Parsons serves on the Champaign Community Coalition – a partnership of law enforcement and residents that has made reducing gun violence in the two cities its top priority.

Parsons presented a new initiative to reduce gun violence to the Urbana and Champaign city councils Monday and Tuesday called C-U Fresh Start.  Illinois Public Media’s Brian Moline spoke with Parsons Tuesday about C-U Fresh Start, how it began, and how he hopes it will work.

“We’re in the process now of sharing with our community what we put in place," Parsons said.  "It is a draft, it is a concept that we want the community to be informed about, educated about, and then provide us feedback on how we can strengthen it.”

The C-U Fresh Start initiative is similar to a program in Peoria that has shown promise, based on the book "Don't Shoot," by David Kennedy.