Last night, the Rockford Police Department’s 2018 crime statistics were released. Overall, reports say violent crime is down by more than ten percent to date. While police say they are happy with the overall numbers, there is still a lot of work to do to make sure crime stays down.
“You use them as a benchmark, but it’s not necessarily the end all be all”, said Rockford Police Chief Dan O’Shea
In 2018, from January to November overall violent crime was down 11%. Along with violent crime, robbery decreased by 15%, assault by 11%, and shots fired was down 19% from the same time period last year. But not all crime was down in Rockford, the Police Chief says crimes that are usually committed by teens and kids are on the rise.
“Property crimes are generally crimes of opportunity. A lot of times it’s juveniles going through cars and a lof of the thefts are thefts from motor vehicles, the property crimes that have gone up are specifically theft from motor vehicles”, said Chief O’Shea.
Chief Dan O’Shea says fighting crime in the city all starts with getting out into the community and building relationship with kids and their parents.
“Our officers are out there, any neighborhood group, very youth group, church groups, community groups we go to and we have officers at speaking, trying to build relationships”, Chief O’Shea said.
Chief O’Shea continued, “sometimes they’re tough areas that necessarily have not had a positive relationship with law enforcement”.
“It bridges the gap and when you develop a relationship, especially at a younger age that carries on through you life. So it’s very important that our kids know the law enforcement is here for them”, said Clifford Stoner, President and CEO Boys and Girls Club of Rockford.
Boys and Girls Club CEO, Clifford Stoner, says community centers are an ideal place for police to interact with the people they are serving.
“[It’s a]safe place for the kids and that’s where we can have the programs and opportunities to help them out”, Stoner said.
Chief O’Shea added, “every one of those programs has a benefit. And we keep expanding how many programs we do with the hope that we just bring in more segments of the community”.
The crimes that increased from this time last year are auto theft, which is up 7% and property crime, that increased by 4%.