Rockford police see spike in juvenile violent crime rates

Published: Jul. 24, 2019 at 9:46 PM CDT
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Rockford police have charged 31 juveniles with violent crimes in 2019 so far. In 2018, they charged 33 total.

"This is one statistic going alarmingly the wrong way," says Rockford Police Chief Dan O'Shea. "And we're only at July 23rd. That's a bad number."

This comes as a 14-year-old male shot at two police officers in the 1400 block of West Street near Washington Elementary school Tuesday night.

That investigation is ongoing, but the juvenile is charged with two counts of attempted murder of a police officer, three counts of aggravated discharge of a firearm and resisting arrest.

"Police just want to make it home at the end of their shift keeping the city safe as well as themselves," says O'Shea. "Last night a 14 year old male armed with a handgun jeopardized that for the officers."

Juvenile violent crime is the only crime percentage increasing in Rockford.

"This is very disturbing to me," says State's Attorney Marilyn Hite Ross.

"Summertime is a time we want children to be in the park and be free."

Both the police department and the State's Attorneys office attribute the rise in juvenile violent crime to lack of parenting.

"We need parents to parent," says Hite Ross. "But more importantly we need parents to train their children to respect others."

O'Shea says the department does countless community outreach programs, and if parents feel they need additional help, they should reach out.