Story by: Courtney Bunting
ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) — Rockford ranks 59th in a study by the National Council for Home Safety and Security listing the top 100 most dangerous cities.
Rockford police Chief Dan O’Shea says many of the efforts in place for lowering crime may not show an immediate effect, but they are still working.
“If you compare January to April 30, 2017 to 2018, our overall violent crime is down 22 percent,” said O’Shea.
Robert Lightfoot and his family will soon be moving from California to Loves Park.
“My plan on that was to acclimate when we get there. If it’s too violent, then we’ll move in 2 years,” said Lightfoot.
The Lightfoots are part of a trend that realtors in the area say is slowing down. After a 12-month streak in increasing home sales, this past April shows a more than 7 percent drop in home sales compared to last April.
“A lot of that’s probably due to lack of inventory because people are shopping but they’re not finding what they wanna buy,” said Rockford Area Realtors CEO Steve Bois.
While Bois says violent crime in the area can be an issue with prospective buyers, he says it’s not at the forefront.
“Using the holistic approach with us, the county, the court systems, the new family justice center hopefully; trying to eradicate it on the levels before it becomes a problem,” said O’Shea.
If those programs are effective, families like the Lightfoots are more likely to stick around.
“I’ll know in two years whether it’s a place we can grow old in or find a new one again,” said Lightfoot.
O’Shea says studies about violence in the area that go by FBI statistics can be unreliable because every city tracks their violent crime in a different way.