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WTVO NEWS Reporter Mimi Murphy states:

Violent Crime is UP, cases solved DOWN in Rockford, IL under Chief Epperson

FBI crime data reveals growing Violent Crime PROBLEM in Rockford, Illinois.


If you feel less safe these days in Rockford, it may be because according to a report commissioned by the city, you are less safe in Rockford than you were when Chief Chet Epperson took office nearly 10 years ago. 

It's an analysis that may ultimately define Epperson's legacy as police chief, and by extension, Larry Morrissey's as mayor, who has stood behind him through a lopsided vote of 'no confidence' by police officers and calls for the Chief's resignation.

The analysis of FBI crime data by an independent firm for the city found that during Chief Epperson's tenure, violent crime has gone up while arrests have gone down.

In September, Rockford city officials were presented with this 63 page report from the OJP Diagnostic Center (you can read it here).  It detailed troubling trends when it came violent crime in Rockford.

For instance, OJP found that  that,"In 2012-2013, Rockford's violent crime rate was substantially higher than all other comparable jurisdictions and three times the statewide average."

FBI data that shows that Rockford's violent crime rate per 100-thousand residents is nearly double that of Peoria and about triple that of Joliet, with an average of 19 murders a year since 2005.  OJP added that their analysis found that while other comparable cities violent crimes rates have decreased, Rockford's have increased.  "Relative to comparable jurisdictions and the state of Illinois," the report concludes, "Winnebago County's violent crime rate has not experienced the same levels of decrease since the early 1990's."  And of course, the vast majority of that violent crime has happened in Rockford.

The OJP report also noted that Rockford's aggravated assault, sexual assault and robbery rates are two to nine times higher than comparable jurisdiction rates and the state of Illinois.

And while more violent crimes are being committed, OJP found that a fewer percentage are being solved.  "The clearance rate (which is the percentage of crimes solved in Rockford) ranks well behind the national averages for aggravated assault, robbery and homicide rates," the report conclude.

And since around the time Chief Epperson took office, OJP found that the murder arrest rate has declined by 27%.

The Rockford Police union has been complaining for years that Epperson's policies were hurting officers' ability to do their jobs.  The OJP report would appear to back up some of their concerns.

The report also noted that the relationship between Epperson and the police union is strained.



The mission of the Rockford Police Benevolent & Protective Association Unit #6 is to promote the fair and equitable treatment of all it's members; to provide assistance to any member who has been wronged by the city or department, who have had their contractual rights denied, as well as those who have been denied the rightful benefits that their employer provides; to prevent any type of job discrimination, unfair practices, reprimands, or suspensions which may arise; to work diligently for and with all members while acquiring and maintaining the best possible working conditions and benefits for all members through the collective bargaining process;maintain and promote a social as well as a fraternal organization; provide assistance to all members and their families in their time of need; and promote the morale and welfare for the collective good of all members of the Rockford Police Department.

We hope you will find our website both informative and user friendly. The Police Benevolent & Protective Association Unit #6 Board is currently in the process of updating/upgrading our website. It is our intention to add features to better communicate with our members. As we continue to improve the website, we will continue to ask you for your feedback. If you have any suggestions on making our website better, please feel free to email your comments to our board members.

Today in the United States, some 900,000 law enforcement officers put their lives on the line for the safety and protection of others. They serve with valor and distinction – and with great success. That protection comes at a price, however. Each year, there are approximately 16,000 assaults on law enforcement officers, resulting in

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