We've seen them on Rockford's streets after shootings and stabbings. But before any shots are fired, Ceasefire works the streets.
At least four nights a week, members are in some of the worst neighborhoods in Rockford, seeking out gang members in to persuade them to put down their gun. But not many people get to see that side of the group, not even local officials. So Ceasefire told those decision makers about the success of this pro-active approach this Saturday.
"There's been a decrease in shots fired, shootings and homicides," says reverend Ralph Hawthorne.
Ceasefire workers are continuing to focus on Rockford's west side. And the crime numbers reflect their efforts. Ceasefire helped this young woman get her GED. She was kicked out of school two years ago for mob action and aggravated battery.
Now leaders of ceasefire are hoping to get more funding so they can reach out to other areas plagued by violence.
"There’s possibly a migration of activity from west to south east. We also need to increase staff... We can't cover multiple areas," says Hawthorne.
The Winnebago county board denied public safety funding for ceasefire in November. But many members of the board recognize the important role ceasefire plays in our community "It takes a father to raise a child. We've got nothing but babies' daddies who can't get a job," says John Harmon.
Ceasefire currently depends on money from Springfield and the city of Rockford. Rockford contributed $60,000 our state chipped in $250,000. That money will run out at the end of June