Third Ward Alderman, Tom McNamara, held a Community Crime Forum Thursday night at St. Peter's Cathedral to address the concern that's on many residents minds, in a climate where violent crime and shootings have become an almost daily occurrence.
Rockford Police Chief Chet Epperson, Winnebago County State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato, and Chief Judge Joe McGraw took questions from Stateliners on how Rockford is fighting crime.
McNamara says burglaries are up in his ward. He says he has spoken with some of the victims, and says, “They're scared. One of the biggest violations you can feel is when you have some type of part of your home or part of your garage taken.”
Many of the members of the public who attended the meeting wanted to know the progress of geo-policing, an initiative enacted by the City that decentralizes the police force and moves officers closer to the crime on their beats.
The geo-policing program is currently in a "pilot" phase, in which one Rockford district (District 2) has been put under the program. According to Rockford Police Chief Chet Epperson, the initiative is working, with crime is down 10% under the new system.
McNamara wants to see the geo-policing roll-out process sped up. He says, "We've taken far too long to put that into place. Truly put that into place. Not just out of one building, but we can move into the three buildings if that's what the council chooses to do.”