ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- The 2012 crime statistics for the city of Rockford come with good and bad news: the murder numbers are half of what they were this time last year. However, police are seeing a disturbing trend in weapons violence and with the recent spree of gang related activity, the department is taking action.
The size of the Rockford Police Department's gang unit will be doubled, moving from 3 to 6 members. According to the latest statistics, weapon violence is up 39 percent compared to last year. The new additions to the gang division hope to knock down those numbers and reduce the recent spree of gang related emergency calls, a plan that anti-violence groups say is a step in the right direction.
"I believe it's a good thing on their part to have more effort and more means to stop the violence because anything will help. Ceasefire's motto is to get people off the streets and keep them from going to jail. So I believe it's a good effort on their part because we need help from everybody”, says CeaseFire supervisor Theresa Davenport.
Investigator John Eissens has already been announced as one of the additions to the gang unit. The other two names are expected to be chosen in the next two weeks.