Members of Transform Rockford’s Safety Spoke Committee met Tuesday afternoon to brainstorm ideas on how to curb crime in the Forest City. The group, consisting of volunteers tasked with the mission of creating a social plan for the community, meets several times per month. Rockford has had a recent rash of robberies and shootings lately, and officials from the group say something needs to change.
Patrick O’Keefe, Communications Manager for Transform Rockford, says, “The violent crime we have in our community, no doubt about it, it affects all of us. No matter where it is, the safety of ourselves and our family members on the streets, is a concern to everyone.”
The committee put out a survey to Rockford residents, to poll their concerns over crime, and hundreds responded.
Many of the respondents say their biggest concerns are a combination of a lack of police presence, and the presence of drugs, gangs and violent crime.
O’Keefe of acknowledges many of the crimes are being committed by young people, but believes the City cannot arrest its way out of the problem.
He says, “Those young people need help, and just arresting them and incarcerating them [does not work]. We’ve got to figure out ways that we [can] help those people to help find ways [to improve] their lives so they can do things that are productive.”