RHA Making Changes to Reduce Violence at Blackhawk Housing Complex

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Drive-by shootings can happen anywhere, and when they do we're all at risk. A stray bullet could hit us or our kids.

Now the Rockford Housing Authority has in the works to cut down on the violence at one of its properties.

Pamelata Williams says she constantly worries about her five year old granddaughter's safety. It's drive-by shootings around the Blackhawk Housing Complex that really scare Williams and her neighbors.

"She might get shot accidentally, or she might get kidnapped, or some of the older kids might jump on her," Williams said.

"These people have got kids here, and to get them shot, if they can get them off the streets, then go for it," Resident Susan Corbeeishley, said.

Come this summer the streets around Blackhawk may look very different. The Rockford Housing Authority wants to turn them into dead end streets or cul-de-sac's to hopefully stop drive-by shootings.

"The streets create an avenue for the vehicles to come in one side and just go through the other side, and the speed bumps, they don't slow anybody down," Larry Hodges, the head of Metro Enforcement, said.

Rockford Police agree that might help cut down on the number of drive-by’s, but they're worried it might cause other problems, like people gathering in the streets."

"They're going to gather no matter what. They gather now with the streets out there, so to me that wouldn't be an issue," Hodges said.

While many welcome the change, not everyone is convinced that even barricades will stop the violence.

"If they really want to do what they were going to do, they'll bust through that anyway. Can you bust through a cul-de-sac? Boy they going to bust through that," Jerry Holland, who’s sister lives at Blackhawk, said.

The Rockford Housing Authority is still drawing up plans to convert the streets. CEO Ron Clewer says the two options would be to create dead ends or put up barricades stopping the flow of traffic.

RHA also needs approval from the fire department and the city for permits. They hope to have the changes done by this summer.

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