Crime Commission Looking For Input

By: Laura Gibbs
By: Laura Gibbs

It takes a village to raise a child and it appears as if it's going to take a community to change the crime problem. Tuesday night the Winnebago County Crime Commission was taking recommendations about how to reduce and prevent crime. “We need people to get involved in the schools.” “We need more money for re-entry programs and more police enforcement.” Those just top the list of ideas generated from the Winnebago County Crime Commission's Town Hall meeting.

Amy Northrop, a Rockford resident says, "Is there some way to expand services for drug treatment?”

Winnebago County is the only county to spend $2.2 million a year on 17 different Alternative and Crime Prevention Programs. In the early stages of the Crime Commission a crowded jail and setting criteria for funding for the alternatives to incarceration programs were the Commission’s main responsibilities. At Tuesday night’s Town Hall meeting many questioned why more money from the one cent sales tax couldn't go to those special programs. It’s a concern now more than every especially with the recent rash of violence.

Rockford resident Butch North says, "I'm very upset that we have all these drive by shootings. I'm upset that the police in my opinion at least is not doing enough to stop the gang and drug trades."

Ralph Hawthorne with Cease Fire says, "It's not a Cease Fire problem, it's not a law enforcement problem, it's not just a Winnebago County Public Safety Crime Commission problem, it's all our problems."

And the commission and those in audience agree that it starts with our youth.

Fred Marcus, Crime Commission Chair says, "People are interested but we have to keep them interested by bringing out thoughts to public, the Winnebago County Board, and the media. I think there will be more of a focus on crime prevention."

All of these ideas will help lead the Crime Commission in the future.

If you missed Tuesday night’s meeting the next meeting is Wednesday, May 3rd at Rock Valley College's Woodward Technology Center. The meeting is set to take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Rockford Police Chief Chet Epperson will be in attendance.


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