ROCKFORD (WIFR) – A group of business owners on Rockford’s west side are starting to see more positive results after they formed the West End Business Association to help fight crime more than a year ago.
Auburn Street is an area on Rockford’s west side that usually gets a bad rap for crime, however members of a local business group say a lot has changed in a year.
“We were worried about the crime at the time and thankfully from that point to now, we’ve addressed that and it really seems to be a non-issue compared to what it was. West Side Business Association President, Bill Hoople says the number of break-ins in the area has dropped in the last year. Members say that’s because owners are working together to keep their stores safe.
“Creating things like a call tree, a text tree, so that when they are having one issue down the road, the rest of the corridor is aware that this is an issue so keep your eyes open,” said Jeremiah Demus, West Side Business Association Secretary.
The group has grown to nearly 40 active members including business owners on West State and West Riverside.
“This is a group of businessmen that has not come to the city begging for dollars to do what they need to do to keep their business going. They’re supportive of each other,” said 8th Ward Alderman Ann Thomson Kelly.
Now, that they’ve helped to crack down on crime, President Bill Hoople says he looks forward to providing a better and safer shopping experience for the city.
Members say the Rockford Police presence has also helped keep their area safe. A community officer attends every monthly meeting.