BELVIDERE (WIFR) – Despite an upswing in crime in Rockford last month, our neighbor to the east is seeing quite the opposite. 23 News Reporter Marissa Sherer tells us what Belvidere Police are doing that’s led to the sixth straight year of drops in the Crime Rate.
Haider Shah has owned his used car lot on State Street in Downtown Belvidere for three years and in that time, he says a lot has changed.
“It’s been improving day by day and we are very happy about that,” said Shah.
The numbers agree. The Belvidere Police Department says crime dropped in the city in 2012 for the sixth year in a row. All violent crimes, murders, burglaries, and robberies, fell. One reason for the drop is crackdown on gangs.
“ A lot of our gang members have ended up in prison or they’ve moved out of our jurisdiction because we have a no tolerance policy,” said Police Chief Jan Noble.
That policy is a lawsuit against the Latin Kings gang which throws members behind bars if they’re doing anything illegal.
A wall with some graffiti on it near Shah’s shop has already been painted over, but Shah says a few years ago the same wall was filled with graffiti from gang members.
“When I opened up the store, there were a lot of signs around and I was scared,” Shah said.
Shah says since that Latin Kings lawsuit took affect he’s seen less vandalism and graffiti and overall feels much safer.
I definitely feel safe here. There is nothing to be worried about,” said Shah.
Chief Noble says police have a better relationship with residents now than ever before. He says they’re calling in suspicious activity which helps Police do their jobs.
Noble has said there’s been more cases of fraud. He says most of it happens online so he wants to better educate the public on keeping their identity safe.