Rockford Police say gangs behind shooting spike - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Rockford Police say gangs behind shooting spike

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ROCKFORD (WREX) - Rockford Police say the number of shootings have tripled in some areas of town. They say that gangs are responsible for much of the crime spike.


Rockford Police were busy in March. The latest numbers released during the crime statistics meeting called CompStat shows there were nearly 50 cases of shots fired or aggravated batteries across the city. Most of them on Rockford's west and near east side. In the area of Auburn and Central Ave. there was almost a shooting a day for a week. 


"For almost four or five days straight they had daytime shootings," says Lt. John Eau Claire. 


They were all drive-bys. Rockford Police suspect gangs are behind them. Police say when they arrived on scene they often had trouble finding people who would come forward as victims, suspecting some of the people who were once the shooters the next day became the targets. 


"Many time the same individuals move from circle to circle and become either suspect or victim or a combination of those two," says Deputy Chief Dave Hopkins. 


Part of the concern, in 2013 after a string of violent shootings, Hopkins says a big focus was put on the Wacos and Moes gang members. Police were able to make a lot of arrests and the violence slowed. Now it's seem to have started up again just with different groups. 


"In the interim of that we had other gangs. East Side, West Side, Insane Unknowns, there's Four Corner Hustlers, there's Black P. Stones, there's Vice Lords, there's Latin Counts, we have a lot of splinter gangs that have developed and it has been pretty ongoing for the last two years," Hopkins says. 


Besides focusing on particular gangs, Rockford Police Chief Chet Epperson also wants officers focused on getting illegal gun off the street. 


"We gotten arrests made, we've had several guns seized over the last month and that I think is working," Eau Claire says. 


In the last month, Rockford Police seized nearly two dozen guns.

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