Rockford 2016 Murder Rates Highest In Two Decades
The least surprising headline of the year in Rockford. But, based on numbers, how bad is it?
Does it seem like violent crimes in Rockford have occurred more this year than past years? The reason it feels like that is because murders are up in the forest city.
13 WREX's latest Digging Deeper dove into Rockford's murder rate for 2016 and spoke with the city's police chief about it. The results are shocking but, sadly, not surprising.
As of today Rockford has had 27 murders, ten under the age of 18. According to WREX, that is the highest murder rate since it hit 31 in 1996. The questions we all want answered is "why" and "how do we fix it", and we want answers NOW.
"It's something that causes concern for us," said Rockford Police Chief Dan O'Shea. - WREX
Well I would hope so. You can't watch the news without learning about a new break-in, hold up, or murder. It's getting sickening. It's getting harder and harder to talk highly about the city many of us love.
Sure, it's a fact that crime is up in other parts of the nation.
In Chicago there have been more than 750 murders this year. In Memphis there have been more than 200. In Milwaukee there have been more than 130.
Those cities aren't where our homes are and aren't impacting our daily lives and I don't buy the whole "sometimes that's just how things are at that moment" mentality.
I'm also not accepting Dan O'Shea's attempt at how to lower crime, either.
"It takes jobs, and the availability of jobs, and it takes a good education system, which is what rps is working on right now," O'Shea said. - WREX
Hmm, OK I might agree with more/better jobs, but how many people make a bad decision, do jail time, learn their lesson, but can't find a job because of their past? It has to be a challenge to decide between either starving and homeless or getting money by any means necessary. I'll play devil's advocate and mention that there are industries that are, seemingly, always hiring entry level positions. But that isn't the end-all-be-all answer to lowering crime.
In regards to youth/teen murders, Rockford Police O'Shea commented by saying it takes better parenting, adding,
"They need to keep tabs on their kids, they need to raise their kids to be respectful of others, they need to raise their kids to get a good education so they can get a job, so they don't have to turn to the streets,"
Don't get me wrong, bad parenting does not help the situation, but what about programs to keep kids off the streets? What about area police having more of a presence and a strong relationship with areas outside of public housing?
O'Shea said crime will fall but will take time. What the heck does that mean? How long are we talking?
I've reached out to Police Chief Dan O'Shea more than once about openly discussing Rockford's crime problems in a loose conversation on the radio and have had zero response. The invite is open-ended, we're ready when he is.