ROCKFORD (WIFR) – Some Rockford business owners are trying to change their neighborhood’s reputation by relying on the Police Department for help. We typically see squad cars patrolling the Broadway Area, however now, officers have a new approach to fighting crime.
Rockford Police Officers are putting in their miles today, not in their cars, but on foot. They’re walking up and down Broadway, checking in with business owners like Pearl Hawks at Maddie’s Four Seasons.
“When they’re around, everything is A-OK so their presence is good and hopefully that will help decrease some of the problems we have in this area, said Hawks.
Problems like loitering, panhandling, and prostitution. The officers aren’t just on the main streets, they’re also patrolling alleys and empty businesses.
The Police Department started the foot patrols at the beginning of the month. Each day cops walk the one mile stretch of Broadway between Kishwaukee and 11th Streets. Their goal is to make us feel safer in an area that’s gotten a bad rap.
“Everybody notices a policeman on a corner or you know, two policemen walking together and that you know, subconsciously allows you to rest easy and go and enjoy your day,” said Officer Tim Stec.
The Foot Patrols also give us a chance to ask questions and get to know our officers.
The Police Department doesn’t have a set date when they’ll end the patrols. The business owners I talked to said they hope the patrols continue through the winter.
The officers also get some tips on problems in the area from business owners as well. They tell us some business owners who have good relationships with the police will often let them know if there is something they need to look into. The officers say it’s a big help to them since they don’t always see as much in the hour they’re patrolling as the people who work in that area all day.