ROCKFORD (WIFR) – A Rockford neighborhood once known for shootings and violent crime is finally starting to turn around.
You may recall, we told you last month about the police department’s plan to have more police near East State Street and Summit.
“We do appreciate the increased patrols, it does make us feel a little bit safer. There goes a police officer right now,” said Dennis Sweeney, a Jackson Oaks Resident.
Dennis Sweeney says he sees cops patrolling his Jackson Oaks neighborhood on State and Summit all the time now.
“I see a lot more patrols back in the alleys where they used to not go.”
Officers stepped up patrols in October, after 22-year-old Jordan Bousinh was shot and killed at the Mobil Gas Station on E. State Street. Fentress White says she feels safer now going for walks with her family, knowing cops are in the area.
“More people aren’t hanging around looking for victims and stuff like that, people to rob or kill or whatever,” said Fentress.
That’s exactly what the patrols are doing. Rockford Police say violent crime in the neighborhood dropped 9% in the last month. Calls for shots fired dropped from eight to one. Burglaries, 20 to 16, and auto thefts from 6 to 2. The only category that didn’t drop was burglary to vehicles which held steady at 9. The challenge now is keeping the crime away.
“This neighborhoods problems run pretty deep. The people have to change and I don’t see any change in the people themselves.”
The city is working on getting a neighborhood group started for Jackson Oaks. It’s also meeting with SwedishAmerican Health Systems in two weeks to come up with ways the hospital and other area businesses can get involved in the neighborhood to keep the crime rate down.
ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- The sound of gunshots ringing out is becoming a common sound in Rockford, and it doesn’t' even matter where we go. According to Rockford Police there were just as many calls for shots fired on the east side as there were last month on the west side. What's worse, cops say there have been more shots fired this year compared to the same time last year.
"This is my first time walking with my kids after the murder happened. I just don't want to put my children in no type of danger whatsoever," Christine Saxton, who lives in the E. State St. and Summit neighborhood.
Saxton lives just a few blocks from the Mobil gas station on East State and Summit, where a 22-year-old was shot and killed last month. Since then, Saxton's been more careful about where she goes. She says she's not scared, but cautious.
"It's just sometimes in the back of my head well you know that murder happened, so don't get too comfortable," Saxton said.
She is finding comfort in this, more Rockford cops patrolling her neighborhood. Police say since the murder they've saturated the East State and Summit area with cops to keep crime down, and they say its working. According to police all crime, but especially violent crime, is down in the neighborhood.
"Part of their work was looking at was there specific addresses, were there specific things that were drawing the problems there and if we can fix that it helps us maintain that as well," Deputy Chief Lori Sweeney, said.
A violent drop in that neighborhood comes as the number of shots fired is on the rise city-wide. Police say the number of shootings this year now outpaces last year's numbers. It's a slight increase, only 1.6 percent, but it's a trend police want to reverse. They hope taking more guns off the street during their patrols will do the trick.
"Weapons are tied in with the shots fired, the homicides, the armed robberies to victims, to businesses," Deputy Chief Sweeney, said.
Saxton is hopeful that plan works so her family stays safe.
"I guess it's a good plan, but it’s just them enforcing that plan," Saxton said.
Officers also plan to work with Swedish American Hospital and businesses in the East State and Summit area to also make the neighborhood a safer place.