ROCKFORD (WIFR) – Rockford Police say the city is safer thanks in part to arrests of some high ranking gang members.
The sound of birds chirping is a sound Daniel Glass is getting used to because he says the boom of gunshots in his west-side neighborhood used to drown them out.
“It’s quiet now though, you know?” Daniel said. “A lot of commotion has cleared down. It’s calm, cool, and collected over here. You know now a lot of drugs come through here anymore.”
Glass says he lost a lot of friends on the streets to gunfire and that he’s not as worried anymore for his family’s safety.
“They probably took it somewhere else. That’s good you know what I’m saying, as long as it’s not over here putting the risk or harm on any of my family or friends.”
Across the west side, Rockford police say the number of shots fired calls are down 45% compared to this time last year.
Officers credit the arrests of some high-ranking gang members for the drop. Now the challenge is to keep those numbers down.
“Many times those associates as you say, they are moving up the ranks just like anybody else in any other organization and we want to identify them and if they become active we want to take appropriate action," said Deputy Chief Dave Hopkins.
Police say they can’t do it without our help. The West Gateway Coalition encourages its members to call officers when they see something suspicious. It’s main goal now is getting vacant homes demolished.
“These are habitats that aren’t occupied but become a place where these gangs can deal drugs. We have taken control of our neighborhood and we’re bringing back to the way we want to see it,” said James Devoe with the West Gateway Coalition.
Police say the number of calls of shots fired are actually down across the entire city. In the two districts that encompass the East Side they’re down 55%.