Spencer Garrison has lived on Andrews Street for 13 years. A neighborhood that's been plagued with drugs and violence. But things are quickly changing and improving.
"We don't have as many shootings--cleaning up, getting rid of abandoned cars, debris out of the neighborhood," says Garrison.
"Weed and Seed is an initiative where you go into an area and weed out all the bad elements of the area and plant new seeds to replace all the bad elements you're weeding out," says Deputy Chief Theo Glover with the Rockford Police Department.
The target area is bordered by School Street to the north, State Street to the south, Avon to the east and Johnston to the west. The police, sheriff's department and the city are combining resources to weed out problems.
"We go in and saturate the area. We'll focus on quality of life issues, boarded up homes, loud music, and illegally parked vehicles--anything that shouldn't be in the area, we focus on it," says Glover.
And the results are impressive. In the programs inaugural month of October, 160 citations were written and 60 arrests were made. In November 158 citations were handed out and 35 people were arrested.
"We can plant rehab money to fix-up structures that have been sited by the Building Department..so it's really just a concentrated, no one gets away with anything," says Charles Schaefer, Property Improvement Program Manager with the City of Rockford.
Residents like Garrison feel empowered that new seeds are being planted and creating a healthier environment for children to grow.
The community has applied for official recognition of our Weed and Seed program. Once that's attained, they are eligible for federal funding that can be used for community programs.
Deputy Chief Glover says a Weed and Seed program will eventually be set-up on the city's east side as well.