Rockford crime down by 11 percent over prior year, police credit community tips

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Crime is down across the city of Rockford, according to newly released numbers from police and city leaders.

At a year-in-review press event held Wednesday, Rockford Police Chief Dan O’Shea and Mayor Tom McNamara said violent crime dropped by 11 percent between 2017 and 2018, which includes crimes like assault and robbery.

The murder rate did climb in 2018, with Rockford totaling 21 murders in the year.

Domestic violence, officials say, continues to play a major role in crime, accounting for nearly a quarter of the city’s murders. Thirty-two percent of all violent crime in the city stemmed from domestic incidents, the data suggests.

O’Shea credits the Rockford communtiy for the decline in crime.

“When you see a victim come forward, who probably wouldn’t talk to police before, or you see a witness come forward that has repeatedly not talked to police before, that’s huge,” O’Shea said.

Despite the number of homicides being up year-to-year, O’Shea said nearly 70 percent of last year’s murders were solved and the perpetrators brought to justice.

“We are making progress, but we have a lot more room for improvement to go, and we’re going to continue to pound away every single day,” said Mayor McNamara.

O’Shea says the only way to bring the amount of crime down even more is for the community to continue to become involved in reporting it.

“Where 50 to 100 people gather after hours, usually alcohol or drugs are involved, then something jumps off and they resort to shooting each other, and there is not much we can do with solving those without community involvement,” O’Shea said.

McNamara wants the public to keep in mind that the statistics are not just numbers, but represent people who’s lives have been disrupted by violence.

“Today, we looked at them as numbers. We have to look at and recognize that, behind every single one of those numbers, is a life,” he said. “It could be a young child who’s 15-years-old who tragically loses their life far too early, or it could be a mother or a father who is losing their life.”

The City also claimed its investment in new technologies have paid off as well, saying that the ShotSpotter electronic gunshot detection system helped lead to two murder arrests.

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