It’s been 6 months since Rockford’s first “Strong Neighborhood House” opened at 1233 Revell Ave., and now statistics are showing it has had an overwhelmingly positive effect on crime in that area.
Officials say crime has dropped 60% since 2013, and 40% since 2014 – the biggest drop coming directly after the house opened in May of 2015.
Assistant Deputy Chief Doug Pann says the department usually sees an increase in crime over the summer, but that didn’t happen this year.
“This year, when we opened the strong neighborhood house, we saw a steady decrease all the way through August,” said Pann.
Officer Brandon Dillard has been working out of the Revell house since it opened, and says he’s seen the connection with the community grow thanks to several successful events — like the Halloween “Trunk or Treat” — which brought around 500 kids to the house.
“We’re starting to see more residents come to the meetings,” said Dillard. “More residents getting involved in the programs we have at the house and in the neighborhood. And it’s a definite indication that the residents are more comfortable with the police being closer to them.”
Thanks to the success of the Revell Ave. house, plans to build more strong houses are already in the works. Police are planning to create one on 8th Ave., and one on Irving Ave.
Pann says the goal is to get each neighborhood to the point where it is able to sustain itself, and have a lower crime rate without a police presence.
“If our presence isn’t needed there anymore, it’d be great to have someone purchase the house and move in and be a resident in the neighborhood,” Pann said.