STERLING, Ill. (CBS) — The residents of a small Illinois town – where the victim of an accused serial killer once lived – are finding life a bit less fearful with the help of a new police program.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Berner reports, the police department in Sterling, Ill., say the 2008 murder of Russell Reed, 93, had the town’s residents concerned for their safety.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Berner reports

The accused, Nicholas Sheley, allegedly killed seven other people in a two-state crime spree.

City leaders have since come up with a list of goals to help lift of goals to help lift the shadow caused by the murder. One of them was for police to go door-to-door just to say hello, and provide a line of communication.

They say the city is averaging 50 to 100 homes per month since the program started.

Authorities say residents who feared opening the door are now doing so.

Sheley was arrested in Granite City, Ill., on July 31, 2008. So far, he is only convicted of the murder of one man – Ronald Randall, 65. But he is also charged with the murders of Reed; Dayan Blake, 2; Kilyanna Blake, 20; Kenneth Ulve, 25; Brock Branson, 29; and Jill and Tom Estes, both 54.

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