Champaign City Council discusses ways to control campus crime

By Stephanie Gomes

Champaign City Council members discussed plans to implement various crime control strategies for the campus area Tuesday night.

“I’d like the City of Champaign and the University to see the campus as a sacred ground where girls can walk around at night,” said council member Tom Bruno, city council member – at large. “It needs to be a protected environment.”

The strategies discussed included the need for better lighting and the trimming of bushes and shrubs. Both would help prevent criminal incidents on campus.

Council member Gina Jackson, District 1, said there are poorly lit areas located on private property, especially around Wright Street and Clark Street.

“It’s an accident waiting to happen,” Jackson said.

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She said there is a need to get Campus housing involved to get these problems fixed.

“I view the crime issue as a problem that can really be solved,” Jackson said.

Jackson added that she does not want to see crime control slide into the rest of Champaign, and that resources must be spread out evenly.

“I wish we could make (the campus) a sacred ground before Unofficial (St. Patrick’s Day),” Mayor Jerry Schweighart said to close the meeting.

He added that more police will be present on Unofficial this year.

“People just don’t like to party when there are police present,” he said.

The discussions of crime control strategies are the first step to a larger crime analysis plan. City officials say more research is pending before further action takes place in Champaign.

Other Topics Discussed

Support for the expansion of Christie Clinic, 101 W. Univeristy Ave., or possible redevelopment of the downtown clinic location.

Development of a plan for airport governance and services in collaboration with the University and other areas.

Improved communications between the City of Champaign and the University.