New Rockford parking ordinance hopes to combat Sablewood Drive crime

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Police turn their attention to a particular Rockford street in their fight against crime.

Sablewood Drive has been a busy place for shootings over the last several years and Rockford Police are very familiar with the area as its been a crime scene more than once. Just last May, a man was killed on the street.

The Codes and Regulations committee passed an ordinance change that could give police an extra presence in the area by enforcing strict parking rules.

“In the Sablewood area, one of the problems we had was impromptu parties after bar closings,” said Rockford Police Assistant Deputy Chief Andre Brass. “A lot of people would just go into Sablewood and park all along the street.”

The ordinance would establish a no parking restriction from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. that would be in effect on both sides of Sablewood from Halsted Road south to the end of Sablewood. Police say that could eliminate lines of cars that often showed up late at night.

“With a crowd of people and alcohol, some of the other things that occurred, there was invariably some fights that went on and these fights led to some shootings,” explained Brass.

Sablewood Drive is in the center of Alderman Bill Rose’s 9th ward. He says residents spoke up about the problem and wanted something done.

“People coming into the neighborhood would park their cars, they’d have like a party in their car, ready to go,” explained Rose. “They’d call their friends up and say ‘hey, we’re going to set up a block party’.”

Brass says although police already patrol the area, this gives them another reason to be there and have a presence.

“We have a little teeth to write down a ticket,” said Brass. “I know it seems minor but people just don’t want to get tickets because that could lead to other charges.”

Rose says the work isn’t done. He points out this parking proposal is just one of many ideas that could help police decrease crime in the area.

“As we continue we’re going to see if this makes a little change or if it doesn’t or what are some other things we can do. We’re also looking at some street lighting issues.”

The ordinance proposal is up for full council vote next Monday. Aldermen say if passed, it would take affect within days of it’s approval — after signs are put in.

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