Suzanne Hewitt

Housing complex earns Rockford’s top honors for safety

September 1, 2011 // 0 Comments

Hillview Townhouses recognized by police department                             Children play at a picnic held in honor of Hillview Townhouses’ Thousand Eyes Award in honor of completing a crime-free gold certificate program. by BETH ALTENA Suzanne Hewitt remembers her very first day at Hillview Townhouses, a housing complex in Rockford. “The bus came and the school children got off and several of them lit up cigarettes and started smoking. I thought to myself, ‘You’ve got your work cut out for you.’” That was 15 years ago and today Hillview Townhouses is a nearly crime-free zone, with residents who are quiet and respectful of their neighbors and who know that there is a zero-tolerance policy on illegal drugs. It is a safe, friendly place to live with a large green area, playground and pavilion where families play and have picnics. Many of the residents of the 135-unit complex continue to live there in their old age. Hewitt is proud that it is a place where the young and elderly can feel safe. “I think it is something we are all called on to do—take care of the elderly and children“ she said. On Monday, July 11, the complex and Hewitt in particular were recognized by the Rockford Police Department, including Chief Dave Jones and Program Coordinator Officer Ian Graham, for successful completion in a program designed with safety in mind. Hewitt said she had been working to make the housing complex a crime-free zone when she was approached by Officer Mike Miller about taking some training classes along those same lines. “They were full days of training, learning about how to be a crime-free property, and we were further ahead already because we had already done a lot of that work,” Hewitt said. Simple steps like making sure lighting is adequate and shrubs are managed—to make sure they don’t offer hiding places for those interested in lurking—were steps Hewitt had accomplished on her own. Having very few spots that might appeal to a criminal were commonsense steps employed. With the department partnering with the complex to prevent as well as deal with crime, Hewlett feels the level of safety has reached a new height. “They […]