Rockford Police Chief warns: ‘If you’re playing with guns, we’re coming after you’

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Violent crime has dropped another year in the City of Rockford, and both police and city leaders say much of the credit for that lies with the community at large.

“It is 100% because we have community engagement, people stepping up, providing information to the detectives and officers that are out there working the cases,” explained Rockford Police Chief Dan O’Shea.

Heather Vecchione lives in the Rolling Green neighborhood, near S. Alpine and Harrison Avenue, and says she has personally seen a decrease in violence there.

“Crime in Rolling Green is going down. We work really closely with our aldermen and District 3 police officers,” she said. “We wanted change. We weren’t going to let our neighborhood be taken over by crime.”

Since 2017, Rockford says violent crime has dropped 30 percent. O’Shea says violent crime has been trending down every year.

“Every time we see a decline in violent crime and murders, it’s a good year,” he said. “This year, it was down about 17 percent, as of last month, so we’re always encouraged by that.”

There were 321 fewer violent crimes and 248 less aggravated assaults in 2019, compared to the prior year.

“The violent crime that we’re seeing most drop off is the gun crime and the shootings,” O’Shea said. “That comes from locking up the people who are doing the shootings.”

Mayor Tom McNamara says this progress needs to continue.

“We’re not where we need to be, or want to be, or where our citizens deserve…to be, but we’re certainly making great strides,” McNamara said. “So, I would say, in all three big areas that we’re focused on when it comes to public safety, neighborhoods, and economic development, we’ve had big wins in all of them.”

O’Shea says he wants to get this message across to the public.

“If you’re committing the violent crimes, playing with guns in the city of Rockford, we’re coming after you,” he said.

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