A new FBI report revealed Rockford as the most violent city in the state. Its violence that is all too familiar to Rockford residents.
“When I first moved here, it was just starting,” said resident Kris Wells. “I have lived through all of it. None of it good.” The long-time southeast Rockford resident commenting on the high crime rate in Rockford. She’s lived in the Forest City for 20 years. The newly released numbers confirmed her suspicions.
FBI crime data from 2015 showed that on average, there were 17 violent crimes for every 1,000 residents, which are up from 2015. Murder accounted for 26 of those violent crimes. The city saw more than 1,700 aggravated assaults, over 1,400 burglaries, and nearly 5,500 property crimes.
These numbers weren’t anything new.
“Not a surprise to me,” said Wells. Nor was it a surprised to anyone else either, like Brittney Hatcher.
“It doesn’t matter if I’m outside at 11pm, 12am and I decide to go out, sit on my porch and smoke a cigarette,” said Hatcher. “I’m scared for my life because I don’t know if anyone is going to come out and rob me or get hit by a stray bullet.”
Over the weekend, one woman was hit in the head by a stray bullet while sitting inside her upstairs apartment building at 16th and Parmele Avenue. The woman, identified by her father as Alzura Prunty, is now recovering from her wound.
Concerns over reports of violent crime are worrying residents on a daily basis.
“You could be standing outside and [there is] a drive-by and people shooting and we’re just standing out in the yard,” said Holliman. “What if my son get[s] [shot?]”
Some residents, like Wells, have to take extra steps to make sure they don’t become a statistic.
“I go around the block and I look to see if there’s foot traffic,” said Wells. “A lot of prostitution and a lot of drugs and all the trouble that comes with it.”
East St. Louis was Illinois’ most violent small city with more than 28 violent crimes per 1,000 residents.