Durbin, Bustos Meet with Rockford Law Enforcement Officials to Discuss Crime Reduction Strategy

Senator Will Request U.S. Attorney Nominee Zachary Fardon Visit Rockford After Confirmation to Learn More About Area's Gang and Gun Crime

[ROCKFORD, IL] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Representative Cheri Bustos (D-IL-17) met today with senior federal, county and local law enforcement officials to be briefed about the violent crime facing Rockford and the law enforcement response.  The meeting focused on ensuring cooperation between law enforcement agencies on crime prevention efforts and making sure important information is shared between jurisdictions.


“While overall crime rates are down this year compared to 2012, a recent surge of criminal incidents has led to real fear among the city’s residents.  I share their concern and I know everyone who joined the meeting today does as well,” Durbin said.  “I came to Rockford to learn more about the scope of the problem and to hear directly from law enforcement officials working on the front lines regarding their plans to combat the crime.  My goal is to make sure all levels of law enforcement are coordinating efforts and sharing resources and information to the greatest extent possible.  Federal, state and local law enforcement working together can give the city’s residents the security and peace of mind they deserve.”


"For far too long, Rockford has struggled with a crime rate that is unacceptably high, putting families across the community at risk," Bustos said.  "That is why I was pleased to be part of today's discussion on the ways federal, state and local law enforcement officials and elected officials can better work together to make Rockford a safer place to work and raise a family."


Durbin and U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) will meet tomorrow in Chicago with Zachary Fardon, who last week was nominated by President Obama to be the next U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.  Durbin told meeting participants that he intends to ask Fardon to prioritize the prosecution of violent offenders and to visit Rockford upon his confirmation to learn more about violent crime in the city.


“As Senator Kirk and I went through the process of screening applicants for the U.S. Attorney position, we made it clear we wanted the prosecution of gun offenders and violent criminals prioritized in the Northern District,” Durbin said.  “Zachary Fardon is the right man to make that happen.  When I meet with him tomorrow in Chicago, I will share what I’ve learned here today with him and ask him to come to Rockford to talk with law enforcement and learn how he can best pursue the gang and gun violence that makes this city less safe.  I look forward to working with Mr. Fardon to crack down on violent crime here in Rockford and across Northern Illinois.”


Though Rockford’s year-to-date crime statistics are down compared to 2012, a recent spike in home burglaries, including the shooting of one elderly couple and the severe beating of another, has driven fresh concern over crime in the city.  Home invasions increased 39 percent from March to April and reports of shots fired were up 57 percent in that same time.  In addition, earlier this month NeighborhoodScout.com named the intersection near Kishwaukee and Grove Streets the 14th-most dangerous neighborhood in the country, with residents of that area facing a one in thirteen chance of falling victim to violent crime within a year.