Thousands of taxpayers’ dollars are spent on maintaining Rockford parks. Much of the money doesn't go towards new play areas or ball parks. Instead it's spent on repeatedly removing graffiti and repairing property that's damaged by vandals.
"It's terrible. I don't know what kind of people would do that," said park user Juan Cardenas.
Rockford park police are asking the community to help keep our parks crime free. They're starting what's called the “Eagle Eye neighborhood park watch” program. It's dependant on citizen reports to police.
"We need their help to see things go on in the park when we're not there and to call us and report those things that are happening," Officer Lisa Hodges said.
Park police want residents to be on the look-out for vandalism. They also want us to call police if we see fires or people drinking alcohol in the parks at night.
"If anyone is in the parks after hours we want to know about that," Hodges said.
One of the best ways to stop crime is to call police while it's happening. Officers need detailed descriptions to know who they're looking for.
"Reporting the vehicle, it's very important to get the make, the model, and most important the license plate, and if there's occupants describe them as well," Hodges said.
Officer Hodges says every call to police can add to thousands of dollars of savings.
Police say if we see crime while it's happening such as graffiti or fights we should call 911. We can call the non-emergency line, 987-5800 if we notice vandalism after the fact.
To join the neighborhood parks watch, e-mail LisaHodges@Rockfordparkdistrict.org