October 2009
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Peoria County home to 20 gangs

That’s the happy news of the day, delivered in a news conference attended by Mayor Jim Ardis, Peoria Police Chief Steve Settingsgaard, Peoria County Sheriff Mike McCoy, and U.S. Representatives Aaron Schock and Mark Kirk.

Meanwhile, Kirk said, the city of Peoria is able to dedicate just 20 officers to anti-gang units. “We need to make sure a local city or town is not overwhelmed by the resources of a gang,” Kirk said.

I’d just like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that the City is still contemplating laying off police officers while concurrently planning to fork over $39.5 million to a private developer for a new downtown hotel. You see, Peoria’s Mayor and City Council don’t mind raising taxes for risky private ventures, but balk at tax increases for public safety.

Kirk pointed out that the average age for a gang member involved in a shooting is the equivalent of an eighth-grade student; that the combined size of U.S. gangs would create the fifth-largest army in the world, with at least 1 million members; and that state sentencing in court is not significant enough to use for leverage.

I wonder if any of these teenage gang members attend Peoria Public Schools, and if combining a couple of urban high schools will lead to any violence among said gang members. It’s a good thing we’ll have extra officers on hand when this happ– oh, wait…..

20 comments to Peoria County home to 20 gangs

  • ed

    Kirk’s argument, ergo that of the he of little brain power and the other one of many consonants, are examples of what’s know as begging the question. Those with anything above a ninth grade education will recognize that as a logical fallacy, where an argument demonstrates a conclusion by means of premises that assume that conclusion.

    In this instance, police people, unable to manage, get together and say:

    ““We need to make sure a local city or town is not overwhelmed by the resources of a gang,”

    and then:

    “that the combined size of U.S. gangs would create the fifth-largest army in the world”

    and finally,

    “state sentencing in court is not significant enough to use for leverage”

    therefore, GIVEN THE BUDGET FOR THE COUNTY AND CITY COME OUT IN MERE DAYS, you would be unleashing an ARMY of miscreants upon your locality if you so much as touch a penny of these men’s resources.

    Well timed, gentlemen.

    CJ’s convinced. WHeW!

    Sometimes CJ, you just fall right into their laps. It’s embarrassing.

    thanks for your input.

  • Ed — No doubt the timing of the announcement is political. That’s the nature of the beast. Nevertheless, that doesn’t make the substance of the announcement untrue. If you look at the number of police officers employed by the city today compared to ten, twenty, thirty years ago, I think you’ll find that the problem is not overstaffing.

  • ed

    i’m curious why there’s no data? where’s the call volume analysis to support your staffing claim?

  • ed

    “PERF identifies several myths commonly held concerning what makes a good police department. These myths include, for example, “A higher ratio of police officers to citizens means higher quality police service.”

    “Another myth is: “Responding quickly to citizens calls for service shows that a police agency is efficient.”

  • Neal

    I maybe wrong but I think the PD have many more people now than in 1989. I am working strictly from memory here so be kind if I happen to be mistaken.

  • kcdad

    “average age for a gang member involved in a shooting is the equivalent of an eighth-grade student”

    This is a rather funny way of misstating the truth, don’t you think?

    Is that 8th grade student 16? 17? If they meant 13, why didn’t they just say so?

  • New Voice

    I CAN…”DIG IT!”

  • Eyebrows McGee

    And why was my fine ex-Congressman from the 10th district downstate pretending like he cares about anything that happens south of I-80?

    Oh, right, running for Senate. The money may be on the North Shore but he has to at least PRETEND he cares about the votes down here.

  • Mahkno

    If the public feels there is inadequate police coverage, then all the numbers in the world won’t mean much.

  • diane

    Mark Kirk is awesome. He has served 2 tours of duty in Iraq. Very smart, very personable guy that in addition, stands a good chance of winning!

  • Diane — Did you know Kirk voted with the Democrats for the cap and trade bill?

  • ed — I’m working on getting those numbers.

    In the meantime, thanks for the link. While it’s true that numbers alone don’t ensure that you have a good or effective police department, I don’t believe that therefore makes manpower irrelevant. You seem to be implying that the number of officers employed is inconsequential as long as we have a leader with “personal integrity which inspires respect.” I don’t think the chief can just show up during a melee of gang violence like the adult at the end of “Lord of the Flies” and have everyone break down in tears at the sight of him, no matter how respected he is.

  • GenerationWhy


    I doubt the police can ever have enough officers to deal with this problem. That is because the police are a reactionary force. They do little to prevent crime, this is evident by the size and force of gangs in the City. Relying on the police, only, to solve this problem is fool hearty. It will only serve as a rallying cry to recruit more gang members. Gangs, by definition, are a rebellion of the society in which they exist. Throwing more of the same at them will only result in conflict; which the City doesn’t appear to have resources to win.

    The real solution to this issue is to target the mechanism that creates gangs in the first place, which is kids seeking structure. Society is suppose to create this structure, through family, schools, church, and community. These things no longer exist in Peoria in sufficient amounts to attract kids.

    Instead of people blaming an underfunded, overworked, police department, they need to look to themselves. People need to ask how they can be apart of the solution. We talk about history, and what has changed. It is easy to pinpoint what has changed. People are no longer interested in taking an active role in Peoria society. People view the City as a distant unchangeable entity, that makes stupid decisions and soaks people with taxes. This image is also what keeps people out of Peoria, and those that live in Peoria, indifferent to problems. Peoria citizens think nothing will change.

    Those communities that have a sense of pride, citizen participation, and social justice, flourish; people looking out for their city, and their neighbors. Peoria lacks this, and as long as it does, it will never prosper.

  • diane

    CJ – I know. A lot of Repubs have a problem with him because of that. He has a sound rationale for his support of it, that seems acceptable enough as far as I’m concerned. Not sure I completely agree on that point, but it would be difficult to agree with every candidate on every issue.

  • Am I the only one that has ever noticed that Peoria has a “me too” make up to its psychology? In all the places I’ve lived, Peoria has the largest blow-hard aspect to its persona.

    I don’t know about anyone else, but the gangs here in no way stack up to those in other cities when it comes to their ferocity and violence. For all we know, this study could have been based largely upon a person stating if he or she was just in a gang. Many of these folks possibly make such declarations out of peer pressure or for other reasons.

    And I’d really like to know of the reaction of hard core gang members when they see a group of politicians get up and bloviate like our locals do.

  • Rix

    If any of the news about violence among our youth is surprised, they haven’t been paying attention. “GenerationWhy’s” observations mirror what I’ve seen in local high schools working with at-risk teens.

  • shay

    Good thoughtful comments…

    I’m beginning to see why more jails, tougher prosecutor, more Armadillos are not as effective as I would have believed.

    Catch and release; concealed carry seem to be where we’re headed.

    The new school zone planning people are making efforts but it probably won’t change gangs much.

  • raakal

    I have heard that they are laying off about 20 cops (not through attrition but actual bodies) and that the gang unit is being disbanded. Nice timing.

  • Mamma Hen

    I live in an older neighborhood and i see younger children going to jail and prison. Its makes my heart very sad to see the young messing up. Alot of sad parents that really try and raise them good. We need Boots Camps in our area. Prison doesn’t help the youth, they get out , can’t find a job, go back. It could happen to any one of us.I have 4 good friends who have adults children in prison and my friends hurt every day and blame theirselves.. Saying what did i do wrong,Need Boot Camps.

  • JB

    What gangs are in Peoria area now? I heard of surenos, maniac latin kings and now harrison gents 187 crew??? what gangs are here?