Crime numbers are down in Rockford compared to last year, according to new statistics released today by the city. According to those statistics, violent crimes are down by 21 percent in the city compared to 2018.
Rockford Police Chief Daniel O’Shea says officers and detectives going out into the community and building bridges have made a difference.
“When there's trust between the police and the community, the community will talk more readily with the officers,” O’Shea said. “That definitively helps us solve crimes and put away violent criminals.”
According to O’Shea, technology such as cameras, license plate readers and gunshot detection systems have also made a difference, freeing up detectives to do interviews and other human intelligence work.
He says another factor in solving crime is growth in partnerships with agencies at all levels.
“All those kind of sewn together lead to dropping violent crime,” O’Shea said.
Other categories of crime are down by as much as 25 percent. Aggravated assaults, for example, are down by 20 percent. According to the city, a majority of those are domestic related.
O’Shea says the city, the police department and community partners are working on a family peace center. He says he hopes the center will help drive down the domestic numbers in the future.
“So far, we continue to go in the right direction, minus a few occasional blips,” O’Shea said. “We're pleased with where we're at knowing we've got room to improve.”
According to O’Shea, the department will continue to address these crimes going forward by providing officers, detectives, supervisors and staff the training, tools and equipment they need to accomplish their mission.
“Everything is hitting on all eight cylinders, but we want to keep going at that,” O’Shea said. “We're also not above, you know, changing our direction and modifying how we do things, because we're not perfect.”
That means they keep monitoring to see whether they’re engaging in the best practices, O’Shea says.
“When we find we're not doing something the right way we try and tweak it or change it, and we constantly learn,” O’Shea said. “We're not always making the best or right decision. We keep trying.”
Where other categories of crime are concerned, robbery is down by 16 percent this year, while property crime, shots fired and auto theft are down by 15 percent, 23 percent and 25 percent, respectively.