Crime perspectives

Opinion: Editorials

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It is a scary thing to read about two teens shooting at another teen outside a school in the middle of Oak Park. But readers of, our website, saw that story last Thursday morning. First, we are grateful that the shot was errant and that the intended victim suffered only a head bump from an earlier fight with the shooters.

Second, while it has been a disquieting week on the crime front — this shooting, a trio of armed robberies — we urge, as always, perspective. Crime is consistently down in Oak Park and River Forest. And by consistent, we mean year after year.

Such perspective admittedly doesn't mean much if a shooting is near your home, if you know someone who has been a crime victim. For the rest of us? Steady, thoughtful concern.

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Reader Comments

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Violet Aura  

Posted: December 13th, 2010 5:33 PM

I am not sure if you are joking or not, but I was trying to refer to the police car that is larger than a squad car. I wonder if anyone knows what took place yesterday morning around 10 am in front of the Episcopal church on Lake Street. I was hoping that this site would have info regarding the event. I guess we'll have to wait until Wednesday to find out...


Posted: December 13th, 2010 5:28 PM

@ Violet Aura: I enjoy your posts very much, but careful with the "paddywagon" talk. I think the Irish have cleaned up tgheir act a bit since the days when that nickname was created. : )

Violet Aura  

Posted: December 12th, 2010 6:53 PM

I was walking to church this morning just after 10 am when an OP paddywagon sped by and joined a couple of cop cars on Lake Street in front of the Episcopal church. A couple of minutes later a perp was escorted by one cop to a squad car. But crime is down so it's all good, I 'spose...LOL

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: December 12th, 2010 6:45 PM

The question that needs to be asked, is why does Oak Park, a community with a high crime rate index and which borders the Austin community, have less sworn officers and/or law enforcement personnel per capita than River Forest and Forest Park?

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: December 12th, 2010 6:36 PM

M. Richardson, your reported data is incorrect. River Forest has an employment rate for sworn officers of 2.8 (or 358 residents per officer). Evanston has an employment rate of 2.1 (or 487 residents per officer). A better comparable community is Forest Park, which has an employment rate (included part-time as 50%) of 2.8 (or 356 residents per officer). Your reporting for Oak Park is correct, with an employment rate of 2.3 (or 430 residents per officer), which is less sworn officers than RF or FP

M. Richardson from Oak Park  

Posted: December 11th, 2010 5:16 PM

Those in law enforcement are usually most concerned about how many full-time, sworn officers are in a department for statistical comparison purposes. If you examine Enuf's information, Oak Park has 430 residents for each full-time, sworn officer (one doesn't count clerks, mechanics, etc.) River Forest has 462 residents for every one. For further comparison, Evanston has 575 for every one. Thomas's comment is true. Oak Park employs a lot of police.

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: December 11th, 2010 2:56 PM

Actually, there are relatively less law enforcement personnel in Oak Park than comparable communities. According to the most recent data from Crime in Illinois 2008 (, OP has a law enforcement employment rate of 2.9, which is calculated as (personnel / population) x 1,000. The higher the rate the more personnel per capita. In comparison, the average state employment rate for Illinois police departments is 3.4, River Forest 3.1, and Forest Park 3.4.

Thomas from Oak Park  

Posted: December 11th, 2010 10:56 AM

Very nice to see this reasonable Editorial. Crime is and always should be an important concern, but we have an excellent police department, and Oak Park employs a lot of police (many more than other towns). Crime is down. They're doing a good job.

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: December 9th, 2010 5:51 PM

Yes, some perspective is needed, but not the kind offered from this editorial. Yes, overall crime in OP has deceased, as has crime for the Chicago area and Illinois. The problem is that, according State of Illinois crime statistics, Oak Park (48%) lags behind the overall trend in decreased crime in Illinois (57%) since 1991. More importantly, armed robbery is significantly higher in OP relative to other peer communities. WJ needs to gain perspective using investigative journalism, not opinions.

adele from oak park  

Posted: December 8th, 2010 8:42 PM

Another armed robbery attempted murder born in the arts district / dies on the IKE. Glad the "steady, thoughtful concern" is paying off.

Really? from Oak Park  

Posted: December 8th, 2010 4:24 PM

Really? You're complaining about an anonymous posting under a fake name? Really?

Michael Nevins from Oak Park  

Posted: December 8th, 2010 12:40 PM

Violet, I appreciate your willingness (courage?) to frequently post on these important local matters. Please keep it up.


Posted: December 8th, 2010 12:33 PM

Violet, you can write your own editorial about this over at Drop me an email for more:

Violet Aura  

Posted: December 8th, 2010 11:51 AM

I find it more than a little curious that the author of this little essay is anonymous. I really wish we could start our own threads/create articles ourselves. I have a perspective on this issue that cannot be detailed in a textbook with a 500-word limit. The bottom line is that no one should be cowed by the the 'crime is down' meme. Do you feel safer than ten years ago? Am I the only one who sees shootings as an escalation in barbaric behavior? A teen could have been killed for $$$! That's cold

Lori Malinski  

Posted: December 8th, 2010 10:12 AM

G Simon - you are right on! And after studying Holmes School playground for 10 years, I can tell you for free what needs to be done to deter crime: add more lighting, trim the shrubs that conceal any wrong-doing on the playground and close up the tunnel that's so inviting to anyone up to no good. Over 10 years, I have found used condoms and wrappers, drug paraphernalia and human waste under the playground equipment.

G Simon  

Posted: December 8th, 2010 9:58 AM

Sorry, with three armed robberies reported in the past couple of weeks it would be nice if this town spent less on consultants, "studies" and free parking for electric cars no one owns and more on cops.

adele from oak park  

Posted: December 8th, 2010 4:51 AM

I agree perspective is needed. However, so is critical interpretation of data, sober assessment, and REAL SOLUTIONS . To say "crime is consistently down" really means that the way crime is coded and categorized has resulted in decrease in some categories. Is it down because there is political pressure to keep it down? Is it down because of number of cops are down? Instead of encouraging people to keep their heads level, Why not encourage the leaders and people of the village to tackle this?

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