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City of Carbondale partners with SIUC for gun violence study

Amid a rise in violent crime nationwide, Southern Illinois University Carbondale works to find a solution to address that violence here at home.
Published: Mar. 24, 2022 at 6:10 PM CDT
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CARBONDALE, Ill. (KFVS) - Amid a rise in violent crime nationwide, a southern Illinois university is tasked with finding a solution to address violence locally.

The City of Carbondale and Southern Illinois University are working together to reduce gun violence.

They both want to know what members of the community think about gun violence; and are asking people to share their thoughts.

“My hope would be that residents would be optimistic as a result of strategy being employed by Carbondale,” Tammy Rinehart Kochel, professor in Criminology and Criminal Justice at SIU, said.

She said the goal of the study is to find the root cause.

The city allocated more than $64,000 to SIU to help in the study.

“To try to look at where it’s happening, when it’s happening, who is involved, and what are the underlying conditions that are facilitating the problems that are happening,” Kochel explained.

She said the study will go through September and there are options for residents to share their thoughts.

“It’ll be advertised through the water bills, as well as through the city website, Facebook that sort of thing. Through a network of churches here in the town and really anyway we can get the word out,” said Kochel.

Small focus groups and one-on-one interviews will also be conducted during that time.

Carbondale City Manager Gary Williams said gun violence is not just a local problem.

“We’ve been interested in pursuing some sort of strategy that isn’t simply adding more police officers, adding more resources to the police department because there’s a lot of variables that go into crime, violent crimes and gun violence,” he said.

Williams said this is only the first step, but everyone involved needs to focus on the cause of the problem.

He went on to say they need to find to root of the problem.

“We need to really focus on the root problems of gun violence. Many of those involve deterrence, violence interruption, youth programs, poverty, trauma. So it’s a much more holistic approach,” he added.

Kochel said she has seen these approaches work before.

“I’ve published studies that show that when you use evidence-based approaches against gun violence problems, those problems decline not just in the official statistics but in community residence experiences with those problems,” she said.

When the study is finished, Williams said the city will start working on what they determined is the cause of the problem.

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