With 14 shootings so far this year, gun violence in Carbondale, Illinois, is at its highest level in 10 years, according to records from the Carbondale Police Department.
There was another this weekend in the 500 block of South Graham Street that sent one person to a local hospital.
Police records from a Freedom of Information Act request in April show eight shootings in Carbondale. Records workers inside the police department say there have been another six since then, including the shooting this past Saturday. Records show this is the highest number of shootings in more than a decade.
Growing up in Carbondale and now studying at Southern Illinois University, Andrew Aaflaq says he worries about the spike in violence. But he says he won’t let the fear of something happening get to him.
"More caution for sure, but for the most part no, because that's what those bad people would want, for me to live in fear," Aaflaq said.
Whether they've lived there their whole lives or they're just there for a few years while they go to school, people in Carbondale say gun violence is a big problem and something they worry about frequently in the community.
"It's the evil mind that we have to get into, and find out what's going on," said Carbondale City Council member Navreet Kang. Kang says it’s not guns that are the problem, but the people. He says what Carbondale is dealing with this year is similar to what bigger cities like Chicago deal with. He says the judicial system ought to punish shooters more harshly, and he believes that will prevent repeat offenses.
He and his fellow council members are working to combat the spike in shootings by rebuilding trust in the community. That is starting with the implementation of ideas from a community forum on gun violence in April that was held after an Easter shooting that injured one man and killed another. Kang said some ideas will have to wait until they have resources to put them in place, but others will go in to effect soon.
"We're going to be installing extra lighting in areas which are darker. That came in pretty quickly," Kang said.
Community members say it’s a start, and hopefully one that helps stop any more shootings around town.
WPSD reached out to the Carbondale Police Department. It has not yet returned our calls for comment.
You can view the records obtained through the FOIA request below this story.
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