Gangs have made a home in Rockford for decades. From the disciples to the Latin kings, their presence is no secret. Gang graffiti covers buildings and their members have been connected to a recent string of devastating fire bombings.
"They're very violent, they're heavily involved in the sale of narcotics. As we've seen with the fire bombings, the violence can extend beyond the gang and effect other people," said Rockford Police Deputy Chief Dominic Iasparro.
Some lawmakers in Washington want to give prosecutors more tools to crackdown on gangs. The Anti-Gang Act would criminalize participation in criminal street gangs, recruitment of gang members and witness intimidation.
"It would be beneficial if we had a tool for going after those people for being a part of a criminal organization," said Iasparro.
Most gang activity isn't as obvious as this graffiti, but police say gangs effect all of us and they welcome any tools that will help put more gang members behind bars.
"Because of the activities these gangs are involved in, if you can hit them from a lot of different fronts, it makes it more proactive," said Winnebago County Sheriff Dick Meyers.
While there are some gray areas with enforcing these proposed laws, police say it's a piece of the puzzle and will help deter serious crimes like this.