By John Hubbuch
The results of the Village's National Citizen Survey are out. Every three or four years a survey is mailed to 1200 residents give their opinions about various subjects including crime. It's a good thing. Otherwise ,our elected representatives' perception is limited to irate e-mails and discussions at Farmer's Market.
Crime is a big deal for any community especially one like Oak Park that abuts a high crime area like Austin. Many of us read the crime report regularly. There are many letters and postings that bemoan the safety of the community. This concern takes place in the context that there has been a long history of diminishing crime in Oak Park. The Village is much safer now than it was in the 1970's or 1980's.
But in some way you are only as safe as you think you are. Never mind the statistics. If you don't feel safe, then your life is negatively impacted. There are people who are afraid to fly commercial airplanes. Never mind the statistics that prove it is a very safe way to travel.
It turns out that most of us feel pretty safe here in Oak Park. The objective and subjective coincide.Interestingly, 92 % of us feel safe in our neighborhoods during the day, but only 62% at night. ( I wonder if "night" is 7PM or 2AM?). 93% felt safe downtown during the day, and 73% even felt safe at night. Thirteen percent of responders said they or someone they knew in their household had been a victim of crime in the past 12 months. That seemed kind of high.
All in all it seems that while crime is an issue here in Oak Park, it's only one of many, and most Oak Parkers feel safe. Of course there are many factors that determine where you live. Crime is very low in Antarctica, but jobs, nice restaurants and culture are limited.