ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) – 2021 has been especially difficult when it comes to violent crime, but local lawmakers say Rockford is not alone in the fight.

“No matter what side of town you’re on, this is a problem that we all have to deal with,” emphasizes Stadelman. “When it comes to reporting crime scenes, you know, what might have taken place in reporting police and helping police, or just being involved. It’s going to take a community-wide effort. The public has to be involved if we’re going to address this issue.”

“This is not a West Side Rockford issue,” agrees State Representative Maurice West. “This is a whole city of Rockford issue, and so we need to come together as a community because it will hope the whole city of Rockford thrive, not just one side.”

Friday afternoon, Stadelman, along with State Representatives Maurice West (D, 67th District) and Dave Vella (D, 68th District), announced Rockford will be at the center of the state’s efforts to deal with crime, receiving state funding under Illinois’ new Reimagine Public Safety Act. The $50 million will be split between ten cities, excluding Chicago, and will go towards community-based efforts to address addiction, mental illness, youth trauma, and other underlying causes of firearm violence.

“It goes into youth prevention, so trying to get youth before they get in trouble,” explains Vella. “To help the issues that lead to crime, so drug addiction and mental health. And also it goes to the victims of these crimes, so it really is across the board because crime is a continuum.”

“Rockford was named one of ten cities outside Chicago that will be getting this funding to help with this critical situation,” adds Stadelman. “It addresses the root causes of crime as I mentioned but what this legislation does and what the law does is make sure the funding’s available to deal with these several issues for local programs.”

Selection of the top ten cities to receive funding was based on per-capita firearm violence from 2016-2020. Next month, the Illinois Department of Human Services is expected name individuals to serve on local advisory councils to oversee distribution of funds to local organizations.

Stadelman, Vella and West emphasize any community organizations interested in participating should reach out to their offices or the City of Rockford.