ROCKFORD - Two stabbings in a three day span to two separate businesses that line Broadway. Neighbors say their southeast side community is under attack, falling victim to drugs and prostitution and the violence that comes along with it.
The two stabbing victims, both once in serious condition, will be okay according to neighbors and family. The first stabbing occurred on Tuesday at the Happy Shop in the 1500 block of Broadway, while the second happened on Thursday in the 1200 block of Broadway. The father of Thursday's victim, the owner of Reingold's Computer Exchange, says the suspects didn't even get away with much.
Gray's IGA is located right next door to Thursday's stabbing. The assistant manager there, Alex Arteaga, says there's certainly cause to be worried.
"I'm concerned about my fellow employees," said Arteaga. "I think we need to increase security."
The Gray's IGA store has security cameras watching all the activity in his store and there's multiple staff members on duty at all times, but he says not everyone can afford to do that. Both businesses targeted this week only had one person on duty while the stabbings took place.
Arteaga says he speaks with community organizer, Melanie Barrios on a regular basis, as the two try to combat crime in the area.
"A lot of things happen here because we do have a lot of drugs going through the community, and recently I've seen a lot more gang activity," said Barrios, activist with the El Barrio community center.
Barrios' community center is located right next door to Tuesday's stabbing on a 69 year-old store owner. She says it's the drugs, gangs and prostitution that bring the violence associated with it into her neighborhood. Both Barrios and Arteaga say there's a good police presence on Broadway, so they don't blame them. They both call on their community to come together and fight the crime.
"If we don't tell each other as neighbors, nothing's going to help us out but us," said Barrios.
Although Arteaga says nerves are definitely high with the amount of violence plaguing their street, but being nervous won't help the situation. Arteaga says the community needs to be proactive about the extreme violence against the innocent.
"We need to have a plan and implement that plan," said Arteaga.
So Barrios is calling on her neighbors to recognize safety problem in their area, become more vigilant about it and help protect one another.
"Let's get the whole community aware to be very aware," said Barrios.
Police have two suspects they're looking for in connection with Thursday's shooting. They are described as two black males, both in their late 20's early 30's. One suspect is approximately 5'7", 150 lbs, while the other is 6'0", 180 lbs. If you have any information concerning Thursday or Tuesday's crimes you're urged to call Rockford Crimestoppers at (815) 963-7867.