A string of recent violent crimes captures Rockford City Council members full attention tonight.
Eight murders, one fatal hit and run, five bank robberies and eight shootings. In total 21 violent crimes have been committed in Rockford since July 4th. And tonight city leaders outline their plans for a safer city.
Rockford Police Chief Chet Epperson broke down statistics, pinpointing each one on a map. He says curbing the violence has to start with this very analysis.
"We're up against a lot of things in the city of Rockford, specifically there's 4,200 people that are on probation by the Winnebago County Probation Office. Weekly, 18 and a half percent of those people are arrested by the Rockford Police Department," says Chief Epperson.
Mayor Larry Morrissey is continuing to push for the hiring of more police officers to help combat crime. But he admits, it will take more than just a larger force to get the job done. And the city is finding itself having to do even more with less.
"Senator Durbin made clear that the idea of getting more federal money to fill in the gaps was not likely to happen. So we have to be more intelligent and more effective in our collaborations," says Mayor Morrissey.
Beyond numbers and dollar signs, 6th Ward Alderman Vernon Hilton is thinking people. He worries too many children are growing up without the proper guidance to stay away from a dangerous lifestyle.
"I want to catch these kids while they're young to help them find their aspirations. I think we could take back our streets by taking these kids under our arms and just asking them what they want to be when they grow up. it's a lot of kids out there that don't have the role models that they need," says Ald. Hilton.
Of the 8 recent murders, only one arrest has been made. Chief Epperson says he's confident more arrests will be made very soon.
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