ROCKFORD (WIFR) – New numbers in today show violent crime in the City dropped in 2013, but not everyone is convinced Rockford is safer.
There were 22 murders here last year which according to city data is the most since 2009.
One mother who lost her sun to gun violence just two months ago says the overall numbers do not mean anything until police stop the killings.
Innette Zachary can’t bring herself to change anything in her son Shaquille’s bedroom. His hats still lay on his bed along with his 10-month-old daughter’s baby blankets.
“It’s just hard. It’s so sad. Someone took my baby’s life.”
The 18-year-old was walking home from a party on October 19 when he was gunned down in the 1200 block of South Winnebago Street. He died 5 days later.
“I can’t blame the guns, it’s the people who’s behind the guns. That’s what’s so wrong.”
Zachary’s death was the 18th out of 22 murders in 2013. Despite a 57% rise in homicides, Rockford Police say overall violent crime is down nearly 16% from 2012. Officers credit hotspot policing for the drop, zeroing in on areas of high crime as its happening.
“Overall we have had significant decrease but we know its this violent crime that people pay attention to and that drives the fear and so that’s why we’re focused on that as a department,” says Asst. Deputy Chief Doug Pann.
Zachary applauds the police department for the drop in crime but hopes to see fewer killings in the new year.
For now, all the mother can do is keep her son’s memory alive, the best way she knows how…through Shaquille’s daughter.
Rockford police plan on releasing a more in-depth report on crime in 2013 next month.