Burglaries Up 20% in 2012

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ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Rockford Police met today to discuss how they fared last year when it came to fighting crime.

In 2012, in certain areas of Rockford, more cars were broken into and more shots were fired. Yet, no matter where you lived, there were burglaries.

"Our goal is to get those burglaries down,” said Rockford Police Chief, Chet Epperson.

In 2011, 1,804 burglaries were reported. Fast forward a year and that number jumps by 366. In fact, last year there were 20% more burglaries than usual.

"We have to. We have to start doing things a little different," Epperson said.

Police say they don't know why the number skyrocketed, but much of the blame is being put on parolees.

"We cannot have repeat offenders, in and out of prison, committing 30, 40, 50 burglaries. It’s unacceptable,” said Epperson.

Police Chief Chet Epperson says later this year he'll be asking the department of corrections to put more people on GPS ankle bracelet monitors when they're released, and he's already pushing a new mandate that he says changes the way streets are patrolled.
"We’re looking at changing, and it's all about change and we're trying to change the department in the areas of the city where it needs to be done,” said Lt. Steve Perry with the Rockford Police.
Instead of patrolling random areas of town, officers will be sent to so-called "hotspots."

"It shows certain parts of the area where certain crimes are occurring at a much higher than normal rate,” said Perry.
Every day and every week that map will be updated, so if you live in a bad area of town, police say to expect more cops, because putting more "cops on the dots" will hopefully mean more criminals behind bars.

This idea of hotspots isn't all that new, but now it's being more strategically used. Officers will be able to access that hotspot map from their patrol cars so they know where the problems are happening in real-time. You can also see the latest crimes here on our website by heading to the Operation Safer Streets Page. We also have a link to crime mapping and as you can see it will give you a detailed map of all the crime in your area.

Police say the new hotspot mandate won’t take officers away from other areas of the city where there aren’t as many problems, but as we already know, they are down 20 officers, so hopefully they’ll be able to make this all happen.

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