DIGGING DEEPER: Rockford arrests drop as certain crimes increase - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

DIGGING DEEPER: Rockford arrests drop as certain crimes increase


It's been a busy summer for the Rockford Police Department. Shootings are up 53 percent from last year.

But while crime is recently up, arrests are not.

"Our numbers have drastically dropped from 2008 to current in 2015," says Ald. Tom McNamara.

13 News filed a Freedom of Information request and found the number of arrests and the number of bookings in the Winnebago County Jail in Rockford have dropped more than 30 percent.

In fact, so far this year the Winnebago County Sheriff's Office has booked almost the same number of people as Rockford.

Through July of this year, RPD booked only 44 more people than the sheriff's office. 

"You are looking at these numbers and you are thinking okay, we have double the number of officers but our bookings are only a 100 or 200 more than what the county is. There has to be some reason," McNamara says.

Chief Chet Epperson says it all has to do with the numbers. 

Burglaries and aggravated battery from 2010 to 2014 both dropped more than 25 percent.

"We have less reported crime, we have less calls for service and we have less arrests. We can't make arrests up," Epperson says.

But not all crime has gone down.

So far this year the number of shots fired are already higher than last year. Plus, the number of murders are on track to surpass 2014. And there have only been 2 arrests in those 15 murders.

Rockford Alderman Tom McNamara is unsure why more arrests are not being made.

"Are we handcuffing the police officers to much, I don't know. Are they nervous, is their moral down, are they nervous to do their job to the way they were initially trained," McNamara says.

"Our department is doing everything that we can our limited resources that we have," Epperson says.

But Epperson would not say if he would ask for more officers when he presents his budget to city council later this year. But he says adding officers is not the only solution.

"This is a bigger issue. It's no snap of the finger that we are going to solve this crime problem," Epperson says.

McNamara says whether its more surveillance cameras or boots on the street, something needs to be done to bring the level of crime down.

McNamara says he has met with Chief Epperson twice in the past month and is planning future meetings to find out why the number of arrests continues to drop.

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