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On top of deadliest year, shootings and shots fired calls increased in Rockford in 2020

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ROCKFORD (WREX) -- Rockford Police say they're dealing with two pandemics, COVID-19 and gunfire in the city. 2020 was the deadliest year in Rockford, 36 people were murdered in the forest city.

Records show police officers also responded to hundreds of calls for shots fired and shootings where people were shot but not killed in 2020.

In 2020, Rockford police responded to 679 calls for shots fired, compare that to 442 in 2019, 498 in 2018 and 592 in 2017.

On top of that, police responded to more than one hundred "aggravated battery with a firearm" calls, where someone was shot. In 2020, police responded to 101 shooting calls. That number is almost double what police responded to in 2019 (55) and twenty more than they responded to in 2018 (81). But, Police did respond to more shooting calls in 2017, 112, according to a Freedom of Information Act request filed with the Rockford Police Department.

In November, during a special report on unsolved murders, Rockford Police Chief Dan O'Shea told 13 WREX crime was increasingly hard to fight because of the lack of outreach due to COVID-19 and the growing distrust with police.

"We continued I can't tell you the number of outreach programs," he said in that story. "You've seen what we've done. Then in 2020, we can't do any of them."

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James Stratton

James Stratton is the Evening Anchor at 13 WREX and reports for 13 Investigates He joined the team in August, 2018 after working at KWQC TV-6 in Davenport Iowa. His work in Illinois and Iowa has been awarded in both states, along with Edward R. Murrow and Emmy Awards at 13 WREX.

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