WINNEBAGO COUNTY (WIFR) -- Winnebago County is only the seventh most populated county in the state, but it's second to Cook County when it comes to kids getting arrested, but the good news is according to the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority the number of juvenile arrests in Winnebago County is dropping.
These kids pack a punch. They're getting stronger, faster, and smarter, putting in countless hours in the ring each week.
“Boxing keeps us busy so it keeps us off the streets, and being around everybody keeps us positive which is a good thing,” Patriots Boxing Club Member Randy Andrade, said.
That's the idea, keeping kids busy so they don't end up in juvenile detention. According to the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority one in 88 kids ages 10 to 16 in Winnebago County are arrested each year. It's why Coach Jimmy Goodman says he teaches more than how to throw a mean right hook.
“We try to emphasize the boxing unit into their life, you know how it takes a champion to be in the ring, same as you have to be a champion outside the ring,” Goodman said.
And the kids at Patriots Boxing are getting that message.
“I learned that you're not supposed to give up. Everything is about hard work and just keep pushing forward,” Andrade said.
17th Circuit Court Judge Janet Holmgren says programs like Patriots Boxing are one reason the number of juvenile arrests have dropped 34 percent over the last five years, but says more help is needed.
"There's always unmet needs so I will never say there's enough services in the community to address all of the needs of youth and families," she said.
The Patriots Boxing program has been around for 10 years and always welcomes new faces. They meet every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 6pm at 212 7th Street in Rockford.
WINNEBAGO COUNTY (WIFR) – Winnebago County is seeing a trend it wants to continue. Fewer of our kids are getting in trouble with the law.
Our Facebook fan, Greg wanted to know just how many kids are being arrested.
According to the Illinois Criminal Justice Authority, over the past five years, the number of kids ages 10-16 being arrested for felonies in Winnebago County has dropped 34%.
In 2008 there were 500 arrests, but over the last two years arrests held steady at 326. Statewide, the numbers are also dropping. In 2008, 11,713 kids between 10 and 16 years old were arrested. Last year that number dropped to 7,937, a 32% drop. Judge Janet Holmgren says the numbers are promising, but more needs to be done to keep kids out of trouble.
“We want to make sure that if counseling and family counseling are neeed that that’s in place and often times there are waiting lists for those services to be available so there’s a continuing need to better service children and families in the community,” said Judge Holmgren.
Judge Holmgren says the key to keeping kids out of trouble starts in the home and at school. She says District 205’s truancy program has helped keep kids out of the juvenile system. She also says community organizations are extremely important in keeping kids out of trouble. There are some tutoring and mentoring programs, but she says there can always be more.