Rockford – 9th most dangerous city in the U.S.?
On Monday this week, the Rockford Register Star reported that crime in Winnebago County had dropped a whopping 15 percent from 2008 to 2009, nearly 12 percent during the same period in Rockford alone, allowing Winnebago County to shed the No. 1 crime rate in Illinois.
The data are correct, but apparently insufficient to show increasing violent crimes.
The Illinois State Police, a repository for crime data submitted by law enforcement agencies across the state, used to release annual crime data every spring.
Over the past several years, the release of such statistics, which are forwarded to the FBI for its annual uniform crime report, has been pushed back further each year partly because of cuts in budget and personnel. It is unknown when 2010 data will be released.
Well, according to the preliminary FBI crime statistics released earlier this week for 2010, the FBI also trumpeted the news that violent crime dropped 5.5% in 2010 while reported property crimes fell 2.8% during the depths of the worst economic slowdown since the Great Depression. The news, though, is far from positive.
A 24/7 Wall St. review of 2010 FBI crime data shows violent crime rose in several of the largest and poorest cities in the U.S., particularly those which have been in decline for some time. Even when crime rates dropped, older urban areas still had more violent crime than other cities. Philadelphia, Cleveland, Buffalo and Hartford finished high on the FBI’s list but failed to make the final 24/7 Wall St. ranking.
24/7 Wall St. looked at the ten most crime-plagued cities in the U.S. with populations of more than 100,000. We used a measurement of crimes per thousand people which is part of the new FBI database to determine the order.
Based on the FBI’s preliminary 2010 data, Rockford was ranked the 9th most dangerous city in the U.S. for violent crimes per capita, which had increased 9.5% to 2270 violent crimes in 2010 from 2074 violent crimes in 2009 with a population of 156,180! Rockford was ranked behind Flint, Mich., Detroit, St. Louis, New Haven, Conn., Memphis, Tenn., Oakland, Calif., Little Rock, Ark., Baltimore, and just before Stockton, Calif.
Here is the excerpt on Rockford:
9. Rockford, Ill.
Violent Crime Per 1,000: 14.5
2010 Murders: 20
Median Income: $36,990 (26% below national average)
Unemployment Rate: 13.3% (4.3% above national average)
Rockford has unusually high violent crime rates for a city of its size. Most notably, the city has the fourth highest rate of aggravated assault in the country, with 10.5 cases for every 1,000 citizens in 2010. During the same period, 20 murders occurred, almost double the number in 2000. Quoted by the Rockford Register Star in 2007, Winnebago County Sheriff Dick Meyers said that he believed the city’s “location worked against [it,]” as Rockford receives traffic from the drug markets in Madison, Chicago, and Milwaukee, resulting in heightened rates of violence.
The crime rates of some nonviolent crimes dropped from 2009 to 2010, but violent crime increased according to the report. Other areas of the country also had decreases in overall crime still leaving Rockford ranked 9th in the report.
The crime statistics show that public safety should be the number #1 goal of the city administration. The “cops on the dots” policing may be reducing crime rates for some nonviolent crimes, but the preliminary 2010 violent crime statistics just released by the FBI tell a different story.
The people of Rockford need to be told all the facts for their personal safety, and must be made to realize the crime battle is far from over and that the police need to be reinforced before the citizenry become complacent with such glowing statistical reports which do not tell all the facts.
Let Rockford residents see all the crime statistics – for our sakes – including those which were submitted to the FBI for 2010, not just present the “overall” crime statistics, which seem to paint a rosier picture of the city’s criminal activities.