ROCKFORD (WIFR) – Police say crime in one Rockford neighborhood has decreased, but neighbors say they don’t feel as safe since the Hells Angels clubhouse was condemned.
“I don’t let them go outside, they don’t go out and play, not anymore.”
Carrie Ward says the Hells Angels served as watchmen for those living in the Winnebago and Morgan Street area and with several of the members in prison, coupled with the shutdown of their clubhouse, folks in the area are feeling more in danger than ever before.
“There’s been drive-by shootings, there’s been two deaths just recently within a couple days ago, just down the street, so I think we can benefit from them being back in the area,” said neighbor Cindy Redmond.
The Hells Angels that clubhouse was shut down back in July for building code violations has yet to be reopened. With the clubhouse just a half-mile away, residents in the neighborhood say they felt a sense of security having the men drive up and down the streets on their bikes.
“They may be saying that, they may be feeling that, but the crime numbers don’t show that.”
Lieutenant Hoey says the crime numbers have actually lowed by over 9% city-wide in the last year, with crime dropping as much as 16% in that area from August to September.
The numbers may be down, but it’s the safety of her children that Ward prays for most.
“I couldn’t imagine having my older son or my five and seven year old walking outside to go to the store and losing one of them”
People say they have seen more graffiti in the area since the clubhouse has been condemned.
When we spoke with Carrie she said some people do fear the Hells Angels because they can be intimidating, but at the same time, they make her feel safe and being a mother of five, safety is one of the most important things to her.