More police officers needed to thwart Rockford violence

A previous post, “Rockford – 9th most dangerous city in the U.S.” pointed out that based on preliminary 2010 FBI data, Rockford was ranked 9th for violent crimes per capita for cities over 100,000!

The conclusions of that post stated that 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 statistical reports showing crime decreasing but 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.

On August 19, 2011 the Rockford Register Star reported a doomsday scenario that had the Rockford Police Department losing 49 jobs, while the police union president said the department should be adding officers.

At that time, the city had 268 officers while the national average per 1000 citizens is 2.4 officers according to the U.S. Department of Justice 2009 “Crime in the United States” study. That would mean that the Rockford Police Department should have 379 sworn officers.

The article also compared Rockford to Aurora, Elgin, Joliet, “Naperville,” Peoria and Springfield. I don’t recall any of our cohort cities being ranked in the top ten in the nation for violent crime, or even the state.

After reading the “Local Roundup”crime reports in the Rockford Register Star the last few weeks, crime certainly doesn’t seem to be slowing down and one thing is certain, the Rockford police force certainly can’t be reduced any further than it already has been reduced – our safety depends on it!

Just yesterday, September 27th, a 21 year old man suffered a punctured lung in a stabbing. Three men wanted in connection with the stabbing were at large Monday night. Last Saturday a man robbed the All Credit Lenders on 11th Street with a handgun.

Three men robbed the Dollar Tree store, two armed with handguns on September 15. Man robbed at gunpoint sitting outside his home on Knight Avenue. In the September 9 Local Roundup, three sought in carjacking outside a grocery store by three men. The three men battered the motorist, robbed him and stole his vehicle.

In the same issue on September 9, Arson suspected in Royal Avenue fire with a firefighter injured. Thursday morning September 8, Phillips 66 gas station robbed on Linden Road by an armed man.

More headlines – 20 rifle casings found along Eighth Street – shots fired at 1 AM; two other reports of shots fired; Woman arrested for stabbing boyfriend twice; three men, two armed with shotguns, the other armed with a handgun rob Burger King on W. Riverside – battered two Burger King employees; two men shot in fight at Rockford house party; Victim of home invasion pistol whipped.

On September 16, man robs Arbys on South Alpine at knifepoint; Pino’s on Main was robbed on August 24th with employees and 17 customers inside the restraurant by three men with handguns and a rifle. These same gunmen may have been involved in the August 22 armed robberies at Taco Bell on Aurburn Street and Giuseppe’s Italian Restraurant on Halsted Road.

Just a few more – August 25, gunman robs Logli on Charles Street, armed with a handgun; Mobil gas station was robbed on the same day on East State street; 20 year old gunshot victim was dropped off at Rockford Memorial with wound to stomach inflicted outside a residence on Maple Street – police report hearing four or five shots associated with the shooting; Four year old and mom shot in SUV by armed robbers in August.

This has all been reported in just the last six weeks in the Local Roundup in the Rockford Register Star and is by no stretch of the imagination all the incidents the police department had to resolve. This is just the tip of the iceburg of violence that threatens the citizens of Rockford.

Again, Rockford was listed as the ninth most violent city per capita in the nation. The department should quit making light of the crime situation in this city and get the police department staffed at least to the 305 reported in the staffing resource study cited by Chief Epperson, but please don’t tell us that with 268 officers the department is doing well, with the violence that’s going on in this town!