River Forest crime dropped sharply in 2013

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By Deb Kadin

Contributing Reporter

Major crime dropped in River Forest last year with double-digit decreases in many categories, police officials said last week.

Part I offenses, which includes murder, criminal sexual assault, robbery, burglary, arson and theft, dropped 12 percent from 348 in 2012 to 305 in 2013. Auto thefts and robberies dipped as well. Arrests for these crimes rose by 17 percent.

In addition, Part II crimes (assault, battery, criminal trespass, and disorderly conduct) declined by 5 percent in 2013 compared with the previous year.

The only crime category that increased was disorderly conduct, and the only areas that remained unchanged were burglaries and assaults, according to River Forest Police Chief Greg Weiss.

Although they would like to see crime decrease in all categories, the village again was fortunate in 2013, Weiss said. He noted a variety of factors that led to the reduction.

"We can attribute some of our positive numbers to a professional group of police officers, better use of technology, and a supportive community who helped make sure they were securing their property, remaining vigilant and not making it easy for the criminal," he said.

Here's the breakdown:

Criminal sexual assaults: 1 in 2013, 2 in 2012

Robbery: 5 in 2013, 8 in 2012, a 38 percent decrease

Burglary: Unchanged, with 43 break-ins each year. This category is limited to structures. Weiss said there were a couple of strings throughout the year. One occurred this summer on the north end of town. Arrests have been made, said Weiss, who attributed the crime solving to eager officers who are good at recognizing patterns and good communication between the patrol and detective divisions. 

Arson: None this year, one last year.

Car thefts: 1 in 2013, 4 in 2012. Weiss speculated that people are locking their cars, and manufacturers are also making cars that are harder to steal.

Thefts: 190 in 2013; 214 in 2012, an 11 percent decline. In the summer police handle more bicycle thefts; during the holidays pickpockets and package thefts are more common, Weiss noted.

Battery: 14 in 2013, 32 in 2012. Weiss said the criteria for classifying a crime as an assault is wide, everything from spitting to grabbing or punching someone. 

Criminal trespass: 75 in 2013, down from 88 in 2012

Disorderly conduct: 48 in 2013, 43 in 2012

Police made 85 arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol, up 18 percent from last year's figure of 72. 

Arrests for possession of a controlled substance also climbed from 33 in 2012 to 60 in 2013.

Calls for service overall declined by 1 percent.

Police wrote more traffic citations, from 9,906 in 2012 to 9,762 in 2013.

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Bill D  

Posted: February 6th, 2014 5:39 PM

Crime does in fact go in cycles, Robert. But arrests? Crimes states and arrests don't necessarily parallel. When they go up 17 percent, it's almost certainly because the cops are on top of things. And just to be clear, Robert, I said that, not Chief Weiss.

River Forester  

Posted: February 6th, 2014 3:39 PM

@robert, I'm not sure what you mean, "back in March 2013." But I would suspect Chief Weiss is right, crime is cyclical. Bicycles get stolen more often during the summer, than winter I would imagine. But the end of the year statistics look better than in March 2013. So what is the complaint. Also I received a crime alert in January which contributed the lower crime rate to many factors. So what is you point Robert?

Robert Zeh from River Forest, Illinois  

Posted: February 5th, 2014 9:07 PM

Back in March of 2013, when there was a 5% increase in major crimes, Weiss explained to the Chicago Tribune that "crime goes in cycles". So if crime goes up, it's all part of the circle of life, but when it goes down it is because of good policing? I just wanted to make sure I had that straight.

Hanson from River Forest  

Posted: February 5th, 2014 9:43 AM

Great job to all of the officers, it is nice to live in a safe community. But the reporting is confusing. The numbers don't match (ex. More traffic citations?). Not very professional.

Bill D  

Posted: February 4th, 2014 11:29 PM

Part one crime stats down 12 percent, arrests up 17 percent. That doesn't happen by accident. Well done, RFPD.

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