The number of Rockford murders in 2018 is just one shy of tying the total murders from all of 2017.
Police say that, while one murder is one too many, the public is doing their part to help them catch the perpetrators.
“The public is the key to keeping the crime down,” said Jeff Stovall, Coordinator with Rockford Crime Stoppers.
With fewer than 50 days left in the year, the city of Rockford has recorded seventeen murders. In 2017, it had a total of eighteen for the entire year.
“It’s unfortunate that we see our community responding in such a nature, that they can’t resolve problems, and actually resort to committing murders,” said Assistant Deputy Chief Carla Redd, of the Rockford Police Department.
Redd says that in most cases, the murders have not been random, but rather, targeted killings.
“Our investigations do not show that these are just random acts of violence,” Redd says, reassuringly. “Typically, our investigation show us that the victim was known by the perpetrator.”
Still, the Police Department stresses that, overall, violent crime is down this year, compared to last year.
Redd credits the police officers’ engagement with the community.
“There has been an increase in comfort level, on both ends, if you will, because you have to have that comfort and that trust on both sides: police department, as well as within the community,” she said. “I think we’ve made leaps and bounds in regards to bridging that gap.”
That ‘comfort level’ is reflected in the amount of tips police receive about violent crime.
Stovall says that, so far this year, residents have called in over 3,500 tips.
“We are getting good tips, tips that are leading to some arrests,” he said. “Our crime rate is down in the region, and I think that goes to show that the citizens are helping, because, again, it’s not just the police. This is a partnership with the citizens and the police departments.”