Illinois' second-largest city finished 2012 without a homicide. Aurora, population 198,000, was homicide-free last year for the first time since 1946. The city has struggled with gang violence in the past, having 26 homicides in 1995 and 1996. Michelle Meyer, the executive director of Mutual Ground, the domestic violence and sexual assault service agency in Aurora, credits the police department for the decline in violence in the city.
Click here for summary
“They are just amazing,” Meyer said. She says communication between agencies and the police department is strong. Having grown up in Aurora, Meyer says there has been a noticeable decline in violence. “I feel like the community is much safer than it ever was before,” Meyer said. “I attribute that to the Aurora Police Department but also to all the organizations that are here to help people get their needs met." Meyer is also president of the Aurora Cares Corp., a collaborative effort among service agencies, the city and community members to eliminate violence, delinquency and gangs while promoting health and safe conditions.