ROCKFORD (WREX) — Leaders in Rockford addressed the unrest in the city following a weekend of protests and businesses being looted.
Rockford Police Chief Dan O'Shea says from 8 p.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday, a total of 17 businesses have filed reports for burglary or damages. The chief expects the real number to be higher because some businesses will just take care of any broken windows or vandalism themselves, according to O'Shea.
From Saturday night until Monday morning, Rockford Police have responded to 60 total service calls and arrested a total of 18 people.
A total of 11 people were arrested Saturday night and Sunday morning. Of the 11 people, 9 were arrested on various charges, such as aggravated assault, aggravated battery to a police officer and mob action. The other two arrests were for looting, according to police.
Police Chief Dan O'Shea says another 7 individuals were arrested on Sunday night and Monday morning for looting/breaking into businesses.
Chief O'Shea says five people alone were arrested for trying to break into the Target on E. State St.
To combat the looting, Chief O'Shea said the city has increased patrols and has officers from other agencies assisting Rockford Police.
"We will not will tolerate damaged property and certainly will not tolerate violence against the community," said Chief O'Shea.
Winnebago County State's Attorney Marilyn Hite-Ross shared the same sentiment as Chief O'Shea.
"When I learned criminal conduct had vandalized the district 1 police station, I was devastated," said Hite-Ross. "This is no time for violence, this is a time to come together."
Chief O'Shea says the people who are looting businesses are well organized and traveling together in groups.
“We can’t have it,” O'Shea said. “Some of these packs of cars that have been driving through the city ... 10, 15, 20 cars, looping in, looping around, driving recklessly, determining whether or not they’re going to go break into this particular business.”
Police released video of several vehicles possibly linked to the looting incidents on Saturday night.
Some of the people causing the chaos are not from Rockford, according to Chief O'Shea.
Hite-Ross says it doesn't matter where the criminals are from, they will be found and charged.
"We know who you are, we will find you and we will bring you to justice," said Hite-Ross.
Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara says the community needs to come together to provide the change being sought.
"We do need change and we want to do this together," said Mayor McNamara. "When we look at the rioting, the looting, it detracts from the larger message, that people like me need to hear, that I'm hear to listen to."
Despite the recent chaos, Chief O'Shea says he knows this is not who Rockford is.
"Rockford is better than what has happened the past couple days," said Chief O'Shea.
13 News will have much more on the press conference and this past weekends unrest tonight on our special 1-hour broadcast which begins at 4:30 p.m.