City of Rockford partners with school district to tackle root causes of teen violence

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara says the City is in talks with the Rockford School District to intervene with troubled youth in the classroom before violence erupts later, in their teen years.

Rockford Police say the latest crime statistics show there have been drops in robberies and property crimes, but violent crime related to domestic abuse has skyrocketed in the city.

More than 40% of violent crime has been domestic related, the statistics show. That number has gone up 14.5% compared to the same time last year.

McNamara believes youth trauma is linked to later teen offenses, and said the City is focusing its efforts on the children impacted by violence at an early age.

McNamara says the impact that trauma is having on young kids is evident, manifesting in violent incidents involving teens.

“Being woken up in the middle of the night, having police come to the house, having that violence occur to either themselves, or being witness of it to their brothers and sisters, moms and fathers… that’s a massive amount of trauma that a young person is dealing with,” McNamara said.

The City has allocated $1.75 million this year to help with youth violence prevention and intervention.

McNamara says the City is currently in talks with the Rockford School District to take advantage of the time that children are in class to address the problem.

“You have their social-emotional skills, you have their educational attainment levels. As those things begin to rise, you see violent crime in every community begin to decrease,” he said.

The Mayor says no one organization can solve the violent crime problem alone, but he believes that a partnership with the school district could be a catalyst for addressing it.

“With those two major entities partnering, we need all of our community organizations to be swimming in the same direction,” he said. “And we need all of our community brought in on this.”

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