Police issue warning after recent incidents at Rockford house parties

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Rockford Police say they’ve made several arrests at house parties this year, and weapons were recovered at least two of them.

“As long as I’ve been a police officer, for 31 years, high school or early college-age kids have found a way to get together and have parties,” said Police Chief Dan O’Shea.

O’Shea says local teens are now renting out homes online to throw parties.

“Social media had traveling parties going to different parking lots. They used to go to hotels. It’s always something new,” he said.

On Saturday, police arrested four people after shots were fired at a house party in the 700 block of 2nd Avenue.

Last month, four guns were found at a house party that was rented out through AirBnB on North Main Street.

In both cases, police say the properties had been rented out.

“We always encourage people who rent properties, whether it be a full-time event or an AirBnB, know who you’re renting to,” O’Shea warned. “It takes an extra couple of steps by the owner to verify things, but it’s well worth it in the end so you’re not cited, your property’s not damaged.”

Sandi Kohn, who has been an Airbnb host, says poor communication from a proposed renter is one of the red flags she watches for when deciding whether or not to let someone rent her property.

“Most of the time, when something is sketchy, they usually barely even speak, or use one word,” Kohn said.

She also checks to see where prospective renters are coming from.

“If they’re in Rockford, that’s also a red flag. Why would you want to rent the place?” she said.

Meeting the interested parties in person and having exterior security cameras are other steps police say could help prevent incidents.

“There’s guns, there’s alcohol and or drugs, and not a lot of responsible-age adults. Bad things are going to happen. We’re trying to mitigate that before they happen,” O’Shea said.

A spokesperson for Airbnb said the residence in Saturday night’s incident was not a registered rental with the company.

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