Crime Stats: Oak Park v. LaGrange

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By John Hubbuch

My oldest son Chris is like Copernicus was to Aristotle. You will recall that Copernicus was the Polish guy who figured out that the earth was not the center of the universe. Chris and Sarah recently sold their house in Oak Park, and are looking to buy another for themselves and their two little girls. They are looking in Oak Park, but to my initial consternation, they are also looking in Glen Elyn, Elmhurst and LaGrange. After several discussions Chris has begun to convince me that maybe, just maybe there are places to live in other than Oak Park--the center of my Aristotelian universe. 

There are of course lots of variables to be considered in deciding where you live, and they have to be filtered through each family's preferences and prejudices. City-data.com is a very good tool for collecting data in lots of categories, permitting comparison between Illinois cities. Among the variables to be considered are crime statistics. Almost everyone wants to live in a place where their person and property are safe. So this morning I compared Oak Park's and our near western neighbor LaGrange's crime statistics. 2009 is the last year the stats were available for Oak Park, and 2008 for LaGrange. Rapes and murders were negligible. Oak Park had 275.9 robberies/100,000, and LaGrange had only 13/100,000. Oak Park had 5 times as many burglaries per 100,000 and 1.75 times as many thefts.

So it seems to me that your person is really safe in both communities, but you are more likely to get your stuff stolen in Oak Park. There are of course lots of places in Chicago that have much worse crime statistics than Oak Park, but I need to convince Chris that crime in Oak Park is not that a big deal. Any suggestions?                  

Reader Comments

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OP Guy  

Posted: June 14th, 2011 2:34 PM

John, I'm not sure why you wrote an entire article asking how to keep your son in OP, when you have lived here since '76, obviously have a cemented perception of how crime here is... if you want to keep your son in the village at any cost, I'm sure there are books and strategies out there dedicated to manipulating people into doing and believing whay you want them to do and believe. You obviously know the crime stats over the years, so if they don't convince your son, try manipulation.

Russ from Oak Park  

Posted: June 14th, 2011 1:44 PM

There are good things about Oak Park (public transit, nice library, decent schools) but the crime rate is not one of those good things! In 2000 I was the victim of an armed robbery (just off OP Av at about 10pm, 3 guys swinging a club, similar to recent Chicago attacks)I was injured in the robbery. Took 3 head wounds, broken eyeglasses and dislocated shoulder. It was a big deal for me and headline news in W.Journal when it happened. Not sure of solution..but lets not deny problem, OK?

John Hubbuch from Oak Park  

Posted: June 14th, 2011 9:41 AM

Thanks for the feedback. Some of the comments are more helpful than others. I have lived in oak park since 1976, and the only time I was a crime victim was when someone stole my bicycle when I left my garage door open. No doubt I might have a different perception on crime were I the victim of a more serious crime. I would also note that crime has dropped in half during the time I have lived in the Village. I suppose everyone has his own perception of risk.

ed  

Posted: June 14th, 2011 8:51 AM

Just tell him, if he wants to constantly watch his back when he's out at night, and if he likes his library being a homeless shelter, then choose Oak Park.

Proof in the Pudding  

Posted: June 14th, 2011 6:50 AM

Robbery is getting your "stuff stolen" by FORCE and Oak Park had 275.9/100,000 vs 13/100,000 in LaGrange. And yeah, it's a "big deal." I highly doubt that John or OP Guy's family has been a victim of this violet crime or they wouldn't be so glib.

OP Guy  

Posted: June 13th, 2011 10:21 PM

Hey "Clueless", you guessed wrong. I have both wife and children.

G J K from Clueless OP Guy  

Posted: June 13th, 2011 10:16 PM

Op Guy let me guess. You do not have a wife or children. How did I know that?

OP Guy  

Posted: June 13th, 2011 8:51 PM

John, rather than trying to convince your son that crime in OP is not an issue, just lay all the facts on the table and let him decide for himself. Crime maybe a bit higher in OP, but what do you gain in OP that you wouldn't have in LaGrange? There are reasons why people move to OP instead of other west burbs... Safety is important, so is diversity etc... He grew up here, he should know what his comfort level is.

OP Guy  

Posted: June 13th, 2011 8:43 PM

SA Dem, I agree that we need more cops, and I am not anti-guns, but I there are many instances where guns will prove to be of little use, unless you can carry one around at all times... one could say learn Kali, or some other weapon based martial art... these are fine for individual cases "sometimes", but don't address root causes. All these things are bandages for much larger systemic and social problems that need to be addressed to make a significant dent in the crime problem.

Second Amendment Dem  

Posted: June 13th, 2011 4:36 PM

All the limo libs around here just stick their heads in the sand and claim "people do not need guns to protect themselves," "the police will take care of you," "crime is down," "Oak Park is so wonderful"...blah blah blah... Get a clue people...the problem is we have too many heated sidewalks and not enough cops....

Phil of Good Ideas  

Posted: June 13th, 2011 1:13 PM

Michael from Oak Park says, " I plan on selling and moving to..." Make no small plans. I am sure you will sell at your price in no time.

Christine Rhodes from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: June 13th, 2011 1:13 PM

My fiance was the victim of aggravated battery last night - he was hit in the head with a large rock on our way back from parking the car. I'd say that's a pretty big deal, and we should be encouraging people to keep their eyes open as opposed to the opposite.

OP Guy  

Posted: June 13th, 2011 11:20 AM

The way I see it, most crime here is driven by the need to support drug addictions. Part of the drug market is driven by people from suburbs going to the west side to buy drugs, so every place has a hand in the problem. Gangs are going to try to make money anyway they can, and as long as there is demand from Chicago and the suburbs, there is going to be drugs, and property crime will follow. Take away the demand and gangs will fish else where, and crime will go down.

Proof is in the Pudding  

Posted: June 13th, 2011 8:25 AM

IF you are serious about convincing Chris, I suggest you ask a few victims of violent crimes committed in Oak Park and ask them if it was "a big deal."

J.G.Morales  

Posted: June 13th, 2011 1:01 AM

Even though crime out here bothers me a little at times, I still know it's pretty safe in OP. I have no plans to move just yet. While I want my children to be safe, I don't want them to be too sheltered. For me, OP provides the best of both worlds. If I try to shield them from everything, what's going to happen when they're out in the real world on their own? It's good that they be around and witness a wide variety of things within reason, even if some of them are a little undesirable.

J.G.Morales  

Posted: June 13th, 2011 12:03 AM

Have you compared the stats in Oak Park to other areas in Chicago? LaGrange may not be very far, but I do know that my family was much closer when we all lived close to one another. In the first couple of years after we moved, we all tried to make the frequent treks to keep up with one another. After time, life settles in, and it just doesn't happen anymore. In our case, we went from seeing one another almost everyday to maybe once a year. We didn't plan it. Life gets busy and it just happens.

Michael from Oak Park  

Posted: June 12th, 2011 11:28 PM

Both my mom and I went to Oak Park schools and even graduated from OPRF. I have lived here almost my entire life, but for many reasons crime being one, the school scores anothe, and there concern about he color of teachers rather than improving scores of students, I am planning on selling and moving to LaGrange. It is simply a better place to raise kids today if you care about their future.

Locking doors doesn't stop crime  

Posted: June 11th, 2011 9:51 PM

If Chris is worried about safety, he should move out of OP. We always lock our doors, and yet I came home with my kids after school recently to find that our house had been burglarized. And if you recall, OP had a homicide in recent years when a homeowner walked in on a burglar.

Joe  

Posted: June 11th, 2011 9:30 PM

People want to deal with Oak Park like it's a vacuum but you can't. Oak Park is next door to one of the more dangerous and notorious neighborhoods in the city but people do not lock their doors. What do you expect? I don't know anyone who has lived in the city that is concerned for their safety in Oak Park. Even an average level of street smarts go a long way here.This community is actually pretty safe and can't be much more safe than it already is...but if people refuse to use common sense???

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