Recently the Oak Park Police Department reported that crime is down [Police: Crime down in Oak Park, News, Sept. 2]. However, the police department should stress that reported crime is down and not total crime overall. One reason is that many crime victims do not report some crimes, especially burglaries and thefts (see, for instance, Parents not reporting as many OPRF electronics thefts to police, News, Feb. 18). The main reason is that crime victims believe their stolen property will likely never be recovered whether they report the crime or not.
Also, many villagers think that if crime is not a serious problem (as the police department claims) they can let their vigilance down and leave bicycles, etc. out in their backyards. If they are stolen, the victims feel that the police department will blame them for carelessness, so they don’t report the loss.
This trend for reported crime to decrease is widespread as Cook County in general has shown decreases in crime. Some crimes may decrease as citizens use greater security measures and devices and learn to stay away from high-crime areas. But criminals usually adjust their activities accordingly.
The village apparently believes crime in Oak Park is a problem since they advocate apartment owners require potential tenants to sign an agreement to not commit a host of various crimes (“crime-free lease”). This puts the potential tenant on notice that crime is a serious problem in Oak Park or why else have such a requirement?