By Toby Haldeman
Several months ago, Deputy Chief Paar was at our neighborhood watch meeting. I asked him where in the city were the most calls for service. He stated that in his over 20 years of policing, Broadway and Seventh Street area had the highest calls for service consistently, year after year after year. I sat back and asked myself, why is this?
The number of bars has decreased significantly. We now only have one lingerie shop. Carry-out liquor establishments have also decreased. So, what is the constant? What is still here after 20-plus years? As I look out my kitchen window pondering this, the answer is standing there right in front of me. It’s a prostitute. Yup, that is at least the one constant that my neighborhood has had for over 20 years. In early June, a prostitute was waved over to the car lot across the street from my home, and a john was waiting for her. I called the police, but I knew they wouldn’t show up in time. So, I went over there and witnessed her performing a sexual act on him. They both left rather quickly. One day later, she just happened to get arrested for felony prostitution. Five days later, there was a truck parked in my side alley next to my garage. This prostitute was starting to give him a crotch massage. They also left quite quickly upon being confronted.
Last Friday, a car was going rather slowly down my back alley. He never passed by my garage, so I went back to see what was going on, and there was a man in a company vehicle. I also have his license number. What was he doing in my alley? Public urination, and probably trolling for a prostitute.
This Sunday afternoon, same thing: a motorcycle stops in front of my garage. I poke my head over the fence and tell him in no uncertain terms to get the heck out of here. As he leaves, the prostitute has to chase after him hoping to catch him on 12th Avenue.
Bring back the M3 unit. What is really sad is seeing three or four prostitutes before you ever see a police car.
Bring back the bike cops. My neighbor has a friend pick him up for work. Twice, I’ve witnessed as soon as he pulls up in front of the house, a prostitute comes running up to get in the van. He now locks his doors.
Bring back the foot patrol. One day, there were three prostitutes on my corner. Yes, only three. It was like they were having a union meeting. It was quickly broken up by a car that stopped, and all three of them went running after it. First one there wins.
I could go on and on. Public urination, open liquor containers, panhandling, prostitution, drug dealing. It seems that the city has decriminalized all of these things in my neighborhood. I moved here in 1995, and I have witnessed all of these things on a daily basis.
I have grown weary calling the police, only to hear over the scanner they have been advised.
I am totally disheartened and disgusted. Twenty-plus years. When will it end?
I don’t think so. How about trying for better? We can do better. Yeah, I like that. Let’s try to do better.
Toby Haldeman is a concerned citizen and resident of the Broadway area. He read a letter at the July 29 Rockford City Council meeting, and since then, beat police officers have been re-assigned to the Broadway area.
From the Aug. 7-13, 2013, issue