Rockford Police Doubling Size of Gang Unit

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.

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  • by mom on May 10, 2012 at 12:52 PM
    We need about 25 officers to be on gang patrol not 6. I would gladly pay more in property taxes if we could hire more officers. They should be assigned to all areas of the city patrolling through their assigned neighborhood. Police do end up catching these guys, read the paper online under public safety, you will see that they DO end up catching most of these crooks.What we need is prevention and cruising through neighborhoods keeping an eye out for us would be a start. The Mayor needs to forget about all his pet projects and get the safety of his citizens under control and have it be his first priority.
  • by Kathy Location: Rockford on May 10, 2012 at 12:26 PM
    Absoutely absurd!! People are leaving Rockford in droves in large part due to the lack of leadership in our city/state. Which means the crime, drugs and violence will continue as usual.... Only alternative is to leave this messed up city!
  • by Joke on Apr 25, 2012 at 10:55 AM
    What a joke. 3 to 6 members??? What is the point of even having a gang unit??? They need about 50 people investigating this. I feel bad for the officers. The chief needs his head examined.
  • by Tim Location: Rockford on Apr 23, 2012 at 01:06 PM
    Pat, I doubt eagles (ill or otherwise healthy) are to blame for the cities crime woes. Now, there may be some people who are in this country illegally who may be of the criminal element, but I think it's wrong to make a blanket assertion upon a class of people or species of predatory bird (and if you did, one would think the turkey vulture is more in tune to your issues). That being said, yes, there is a problem. Not so much with illegals as with a police force that either by choice or by stupid intimidation by so-called community leaders refuse to act because people raise a stink if the criminal in question happens to be non-white. I've been in Rockford a while, and I soon will be leaving. It's a shame what has happened. Yes, maybe the police could have done more, but when you have an element of society that doesn't care and/or glorifies violence, nothing positive can be accomplished.
    • reply
      by Dave on Apr 23, 2012 at 04:37 PM in reply to Tim
      Tim, I honestly think that those that are to be leading this city have put it in such a poor financial position that they try at many turns to use the police department as a tool to generate revenue. Hence the gangs/crooks (or Eagle as pat calls them) are left to play.
  • by pat Location: rockford west on Apr 22, 2012 at 06:03 PM
    what a bunch of idiots the gangs have run this town the mayor brings in illeagles to work and the police keep the crime going for money and job security vote out all the incumbants
    • reply
      by jimmy crackcorn on Apr 22, 2012 at 07:48 PM in reply to pat
      ....and of course, you can prove your allegations??... if you or anyone else has proof of wrong doing by any elected official, then notify the nearest office of the il state attorney general. well, we're listening.....(the sound of hot air escaping....psssss)
    • reply
      by Dave on Apr 23, 2012 at 07:11 AM in reply to pat
      Pat I didn't know that the mayor brought in Ill Eagles. Were they sick? From what? The police keep crime going???? You have perhaps posted the most stupid comment ever to the WIFR BB system. Congratulations.
  • by Angel on Apr 22, 2012 at 02:37 PM
  • by angel on Apr 22, 2012 at 02:33 PM
    The reason nothing gets done is because they are worried about there wages and contracts!!!!! AND THATS THE WAY ITS ALWAYS BEEN AROUND HERE FOR DECADES
  • by Al on Apr 22, 2012 at 02:20 PM
    Everyone knows policing is hard , But it's shortly after 5 years Do you know what your doing?
  • by Richard Location: Rockford on Apr 22, 2012 at 02:02 PM
    What is wrong with this community, the gang violence has been partially created by this Mayor and Police Chief who have allowed the great increases of illegals and ex-cons welcomed into the Rockford community.
    • reply
      by Dave on Apr 23, 2012 at 07:00 AM in reply to Richard
      Richard do you really think ex-cons are the problem? Illegals and ex-cons do not even belong in the same sentence. Illegals are here illegally. Ex-cons have paid a debt to society and are legal American citizens. Further more the general nature of your statement clearly shows that you have done little research, know little about the problems and pass judgement with almost no knowledge.
  • by Lou Location: East Rockford on Apr 22, 2012 at 01:50 PM
    I think that going from 3 to 6 is a joke. Rockford needs the national guard. When you can't sit in a McDonalds parking lot without being approached by an armed gun man or shop at Burlington Coat Factory or Famous Footware or KFC drive through and the list goes on --- we need HELP. Who in their right mind would attend "movies in the park" with children or "taste of Rockford" or any other event when it is not safe to shop or dine in this area. I for one go elsewhere, Rockford gets my property taxes, but I won't shop here. We need HELP SOON.
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