State lawmakers are astonished that Rockford city officials would blame the lack of a state budget for the recent crime spree in the city.
State Senator Dave Syverson (R) says the comments made by Interim Rockford Police Chief Patrick Hoey are off-base. “I’m not sure why they would blame the State for individuals committing violent crimes,” says Syverson. “There is no state program that’s going to be helpful when you have violent individuals who are bent on doing armed robberies against senior citizens.”
Cuts to the Youth Services Network programs were singled out during the City’s press conference Friday morning.
Rep. Litesa Wallace (D) supported plans to fund the program, but she says Rockford’s crime problems go further than a lack of a state budget. “Rockford has had crime issues for many years,” says Wallace. “We’ve, unfortunately, have been a part of many lists because of the crime that happens per capita that did not just begin in 2015 and 2016.”
As for the social services programs that have been cut, Syverson says they, too, need to be funded. But, he doesn’t think the teens, which police say are committing crimes, would choose to be in them.
“I would rather doubt any of these [kids] were regular attendees in an after school basketball program or something, and it’s because…that program wasn’t there, that they decided to go out and rob individuals.”