Murder Rate

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The murder rate has gone down 10-percent. But Rockford Police say guns are being used more than ever.

The murder rate in Rockford has been mostly consistent over the last few years. As of now 17 cases have been reported, down just a bit from last year's 19.

Police Chief Chet Epperson blames more guns, gangs and drugs being used in our community. He says 76 percent of homicides are drugs related and at least half are disputes regarding weapons. Now despite homicides being down, the amount of shootings have gone up. So far this year, 400 people have been shot, which is up about 100 from last year.

"People want quick responses to conflict and the quickest way to do as it appears right now is to shoot or shoot your weapon off we're no only seeing this in Rockford but across the country and society has changed within last five years with it's attitude toward weapons and guns," Chief Epperson says.

Now Chief Epperson says he's hoping to improve things for next year. 36 officers will patrol hot spots seven days a week. And a criminal analyst is being added to the staff.

Of this year's 17 homicides, five have yet to be solved.