Neighbors Work Together to Curb Crime

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ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- A local father says he’s fed up with crime after his son was murdered last month and most recently his business nearly burglarized.

In tonight’s Operation Safer Streets Report, 23 News Reporter Shannon Smith caught up with the Rockford man who says he caught the criminal all thanks to his neighbor in a story you’ll only see on 23 News.

“The crime is a joke and I’m honestly tired of being a victim of it. Something needs to be done.”

Tim Barth keeps himself armed with one of his five guard dogs. He says that’s the only way he feels safe at his car shop on Jefferson in Rockford, especially after his son Andrew was shot and killed on Memorial Day.

“I’m fed up. I’m fortunate I have them, most citizens don’t have protection, they just become victims,” said Barth.

Barth says that’s why more people need to look out for each other. Just this past Sunday night, Barth was able to help catch a man who he says tried to steal a car from his lot on Winnebago and Park Avenue. It was all caught in a cell phone video thanks to a call from Barth’s neighbor across the street.

“People need, if they want to change the area, less crime or whatever, they need to start looking out for everybody. Everybody help everybody,” says Barth’s neighbor Richard Schlee.

Schlee says he wants to start a neighborhood watch group. He believes more eyes on the streets could help deter criminals.

“I think it’s coming to that point, but I think most people in the neighborhood here are either scared or don’t want to. That’s what needs to happen. We need more people to be proactive that aren’t’ afraid of these guys and are willing to say hey we’re not going to put up with this ad call the police.”
Barth believes it’s not up to officers to save the city, but the people who live here in Rockford.

Barth says crime in the area has already affected his business, claiming some customers are afraid to drop their cars off. He tells 234 News he’s been asked to sit down with Mayor Larry Morrissey. Barth also wants to talk with State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato about what can be done to crack down on criminals.

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