Rockford tackles ongoing violent crime with life enhancement programs

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) – Rockford leaders are partnering with several area organizations on programs to reduce crime in the area and make the lumber town a better place to live.

The City of Rockford has shared a list of programs it has started that aim to reduce violent crime. I spoke with the leaders behind these initiatives to find out how they plan to make Rockford a better place to live.

“It’s for people who have been released from parole or probation and are considered high risk by evidence of a risk that needs to be assessed,” said Mirlana Dokken, director of the initiative. of Criminal Justice from the President’s Office.

Between October 2021 and October 2022, violent crime in Rockford dropped by 4% – the number of gun calls dropped by 11%. Dokken attributes this reduction to programs like Project Safe Neighborhood.

“Working with them to develop their technological skills and find them a job. Working with people who have been recently incarcerated is helping them connect with pro-social supports,” Dokken said.

With a total of 35 participants per month, the program is designed to change the lives of criminals most at risk of recidivism. They work on things like job readiness, education, and peer support.

“Unfortunately, some people don’t accept the offer of help. Whether they commit another offense or they don’t live life to the fullest, they could have lived it,” she said.

The Rockford Park District focuses more on children and builds a strong relationship between them and the police department.

“Our spring basketball league. This league is where our middle and high school kids can come at a time when most of their seasons are coming to an end,” said Rockford Park Districts Director of Sports Recreation Austin Taylor, “They not only interact with mentors umpires that are around, but we also call on the Rockford Park District Police Department as well as the City of Rockford Police Department.

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