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How Safe Is Your Springfield Neighborhood?

The Springfield Police Department is teaming up with Southern Illinois University Carbondale to conduct a community survey as part of SPD's focus deterrence program to address policing and violence issues. (WICS File)

The Springfield Police Department (SPD) wants to know how safe residents think their neighborhoods are.

The department is teaming up with Southern Illinois University Carbondale to conduct a community survey as part of SPD's focus deterrence program to address policing and violence issues.

Residents and businesses in Springfield will be mailed the questionnaire and are asked to send it back.

“They are dropping guns and dropping clips while shooting,” Springfield resident Stephanie Smith said.

Springfield police are targeting high crime areas in the city.

The department is taking a new approach to reducing gun violence.

Springfield Police Chief Kenny Winslow says the areas between 9th Street and I-55, and Carpenter Street and Stevenson Drive are known for gun violence.

“What we are doing hasn't worked, hasn't stopped gun violence and while gun violence is a major issue all across the country what we are trying to do is look at research and get community involvement and community buy-in and maybe look at some things that we haven't considered in the past,” Chief Winslow said.

The chief says the information they are gathering through conversation with the community and data is bolstering their current strategy. Additionally, the department has been awarded $160,000 in funding for a planning strategy.

He says they're using this money to conduct a survey and calculate years of data on this issue.

“How does drugs affect us? How does gang affect us? How does social economic? How does that all play a role in gun violence in our community,” he added.

Stephanie Smith lives in the area where police are targeting.

She says there have been multiple shootings and some have even hit her house.

“We have bullet holes all throughout our house,” Smith said. “It's starting to be scary. I have 3 kids and it's happening more and more. It's starting to be every night thing.”

Lorraine King has a solution to this problem. She says preventing juveniles from getting involved in crime could go a long way.

“There's more things that need to be done to kids to have more places to go and do instead of being out in the streets to get in trouble and be around the guns and without that I think it's going to get worse,” King said.

Forty percent of the houses in this hot zone area will receive a survey.

Another three percent will be distributed around the city.

Once this survey is completed, Chief Winslow says he's also looking at a grant to implement a strategy to combat gun violence in the city.

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