Gun violence in Champaign has steadily marched westward over the past three years as shootings have increased in neighborhoods north and south of Springfield Avenue, especially in or near several apartment complexes, according to a review of police data over the past seven years by CU-CitizenAccess.org. With about two weeks left in this year, 16 people have lost their lives. In 2020, there were nine homicides, but only two in 2019. Shooting incidents more than doubled in Champaign since 2019, going from 100 shootings, to 189 in 2020, then to 251 by December 13.
Shootings continue at over 250 in a year that has already seen its highest number of shooting deaths ever recorded in the city, at 16 so far. The previous high of 9 occurred just last year, and even all the numbers that measure gun violence in Urbana have tripled in the past five years. Champaign County Sheriff Dustin Heuerman said the rise in shooting incidents and homicides this year can be attributed to retaliation in a lot of cases. While retaliation may be to blame for a lot of the shootings, law enforcement officials and community leaders said it is not the only cause.