Seeking solutions to end the violence in Rockford

Published: Oct. 7, 2021 at 6:34 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Tuesday night was wrought with violence. Three shootings in the space of three hours left the community in shock and with many questions, at the top of the list, why?

In 2020 we experienced the cities’ deadliest year on record, with 36 murders total.

The violence in this community can have a negative impact on Rockford children. According to Rockford police deputy chief Kurt Whisenand, of the offenders aged sixteen and under involved in violent crime between 2016 and 2019 in Rockford, about 70 percent had been exposed to violence or sexual abuse. Suzanne Degges-White, a Professor and Head counselor at Northern Illinois University, says that’s a trend happening across the country.

“We learn what we live and as children begin to believe the world is a violent place, that’s gonna impose a sense of violence is ok. It’s also gonna help kids see the world from a side that isn’t as accurate as we want kids to see the world. They shouldn’t believe that taking action into their own hands, that that is the way we solve problems,” said Degges-White.

Andre Hobbs, who works at the Rockford Rescue Mission, works with both kids and young adults in an attempt to be proactive rather than reactive. He says people who spend time in jail often end up homeless-unable to find good jobs. He says it will take the whole community to fix the problem.

“People just have to come together and speak on it and talk about it and take action with it. I mean you just can’t say ‘this will change it,’ It’s gonna take this and that and this and that, and a lot of work.”

If you or a loved one are experiencing mental health issues, please seek help or contact the Rockford Police Department.

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