That's why it's been targeted for the Weed and Seed program. But progress is being made to weed out the bad seeds and plant the right seeds to grow a safe and crime free community.
Over the past three months, law enforcement agencies, the City of Rockford and these residents have aggressively attacked crime. The fruits of their labor are not going unnoticed.
Curliss Dismuke lives in that neighborhood and says, "I've seen more presence with the officers in the Andrews area and crime is on a decrease."
Target area number one is bounded by Avon Street on the east, Johnston Avenue to the west, State Street on the south and School Street on the north. Since the Weed and Seed program began in October, in that area alone, over 500 arrests have been made.
Milton Moore lives in the Week and Seed area and says, "Everybody says west side ain’t this or it ain’t that and the west side is great. But the people have to come together and take our streets back."
The action plan entails: public awareness, community mobilization, crime prevention and enforcement. At this town hall meeting new problems came to the forefront.
Sgt. Michael Booker with the Community Services Unit with the Rockford Police Department states, “They have given us several ideas on what to work on like loitering, walking in streets, drug deals on bicycles. We feel what they have to say is important"
Residents who don’t live in this first target area were also providing input. They are concerned that the gangs, drugs and violence has been pushed out of one neighborhood and migrated to the southeast side of Rockford.
Sgt. Booker tells 23 News, "Once residents feel like they are mobilized enough, that were starting to see more neighborhood groups spring up then at that time we can get into other areas."
The goal is to run the criminals right out of town.
800 residents in this first target area received a survey. By filling that out, Weed and Seed officers will be able to gather statistical data about the neighborhood. They'll also be able to tweak enforcement based on resident's feedback.