Violent crimes down in Rockford, but domestic violence a growing issue

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- Rockford community leaders say domestic violence is still a growing epidemic in the city of Rockford, but overall violent crime is down from 2017.

Rockford Police Chief Dan O'Shea said Tuesday that overall violent crime dipped 11 percent between in 2018 from the year before.

More than a third of violent crimes were related to domestic violence, which are crimes O'Shea says are "almost impossible" to stop before they happen. He says nearly a quarter of murders are domestic-related.

Homicides jumped from 19 in 2017 to 21 in 2018, but solve rate exceeds 60 percent.

O'Shea said ShotSpotter technology led to the arrests for two homicides last year.

In Rockford, 119 people were hit by gunfire in 2018, which is fewer than 146 the year before.

“These stats change every year, but progress is what counts.” Michele Petrie with the Rockford Area Economic Development Council.

O'Shea said a big target group the department is trying to reach are kids. He said effectively working with children "will the clear the problem by itself."

David Sidney, Executive Director of Transform Rockford, and Michelle Petrie, Board Chair for the Rockford Chamber of Commerce also joined to acknowledge progress being made in curbing crime.