"Shots Fired" Calls Rise

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ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- For some reason, when warmer weather rolls around, more people go shooting guns.

Everything is quiet and peaceful at the Fairgrounds Valley Housing Complex on the city’s Northwest Side, but people who live and spend time in the neighborhood say that all changes when the sun goes down.
Beverly Jones’ family lives at Fairgrounds. She says she hears gunshots so often, she’s worried they might be the next victims.

“That’s scary. That’s something you don’t want to live around or have your kids live around but some people don’t have a choice so they do need protection,” said Jones.

58% more gunshots were reported in Rockford in April, compared to March, which could be partially contributed to the weather. The numbers are relatively the same from last year. Last summer police presence grew after crime spiked. This year, they’re not waiting.

“We’re going to go ahead and move on it now before it actually starts and becomes as large as it was last year,” said Lt. Steve Perry with the Rockford Police Department.

Starting immediately, the department says both patrol officers and members of the Detective Bureau, K-9, and gang units will be spending a lot of time at Fairgrounds to make sure everyone stays safe. There will also be extra private security officers stationed there too.

Quite a few people who live at Fairgrounds say they hear gunshots all the time, but many did not want to go on camera.

Officers say the neighborhoods west of Central Avenue are also starting to have a lot of calls for shots fired. This is another area they’ll be targeting with those hot spot patrols.

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