Rockford City Leaders Cracking Down On Prostitution

- Twenty seven year old Rebecca Zeller was arrested Thursday morning for failing to appear in DeKalb County Court on charges of prostitution.

The woman was spotted on Eleventh Avenue and Seventh Street, when she approached an SUV driven by Rockford Police Chief Chet Epperson. After running her file, she was taken into custody.Epperson talked about the area’s prostitution problem earlier this week.

Epperson said “people in the Broadway and Seventh Street and the Eleventh Street District are that are tired of the prostitution. Nobody wants a prostitute to be walking into a business district. Obviously it doesn’t help the marketing to help out your business.”

Eleventh Ward Alderman Karen Elyea says the prostitution is nothing new. One reason why she moved her business from Broadway to Downtown Rockford was due to the prostitution in the area. She’s even been solicited by men a few times.

Elyea says “I decided for exercise that I would walk to work because it’s only two miles away, but I get stopped and asked if I’d like a ride.”

Rockford Auto Repair is right on the corner where the prostitution arrest took place.
Tom Nguyen of the repair shop says it’s hurting the business.Nguyen says “we talk to a few customers who used to come over here and we ask them why they don’t come over here (anymore) and they say because of the area’s high crime, like prostitution.

Alderman Elyea wants to see more men who solicit prostitutes arrested, and a greater police presence.Elyea says “it’s hard to keep we don’t have the money to keep constant bike patrol, foot patrol.”

There is an organization in Rockford called the Rockford Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation that’s trying to put an end to prostitution and sexual exploitation.

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