Oak Park cops: Crime flat

Village issues 1,000 more traffic citations in 2018, compared to 2017

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By Timothy Inklebarger

Staff Reporter

Crime in the village of Oak Park remained relatively flat in 2018, compared to the year prior, with crimes like burglary, robbery, assault and murder collectively increasing 1 percent.

But the 1,650 total crimes committed last year was up 3 percent from 2016 and 5 percent from 2015, according to the Oak Park Police Department's data collected for the FBI's annual Uniform Crime Reporting Program.

Burglaries and thefts remained the most common crimes committed in Oak Park, making up 87 percent of the total crimes committed. Both of those categories were up in 2018 from the year prior.

A combined 357 burglaries were reported in 2018, up 15 percent from the 311 committed in 2017, and relatively flat with the 360 and 337 burglaries committed in 2016 and 2015, respectively.

Thefts were up 4 percent from the previous year, with 1,077 reported last year.

Robbery dropped 26 percent in 2018, with 99 reported, compared to 134 in the prior year. Robberies were still up, however, from 2016. That year 68 robberies were reported and in 2015, only 65 people reported being robbed in Oak Park.

Oak Park Police Chief LaDon Reynolds said the village is a "very safe place to live" in a press release from the police department, adding that perceptions of crime in Oak Park are driven by the media and conversations online.

"I understand how word of a specific crime or type of crime can shape one's perception of personal safety," Reynolds said. "But I also believe these numbers should allay the concerns of residents whose perception of crime may be based more on news reports and social media posts.

"The facts related to a crime often change from the initial reports as the investigation progresses toward an arrest."

He reiterated in the press release that Oak Park's crime rate is low and has been for many years.

"I know that statistics may not mean much to someone who has been a crime victim or has come face-to-face with a criminal. That's why fighting crimes against individuals is such an important priority of the Oak Park Police Department," he said.

Police reported an 8 percent increase in arrests last year, with a total of 203 people taken into custody. In 2017, a total of 188 people were arrested in the village, and 167 and 164 were arrested in 2016 and 2015 respectively.

Oak Park residents might not be surprised to learn that traffic citations were up substantially in 2018, compared to the year prior. Police report a 40 percent increase in that category, issuing 3,689 citations last year, compared to 2,644 in 2017.

tim@oakpark.com

Reader Comments

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Marc Martinez from Oak Park  

Posted: February 23rd, 2019 10:35 AM

How about some statistics on the crime clearance rate? 208 arrests out of 1650 crimes is 12%. Probably too rough a number, so what is it? I feel pretty safe here, but Oak Park's crime rate is not low, as we are in the top 40% nationally so we are moderate. We are also higher than surrounding suburbs, probably a misfortune of geography. Finally, to CV and JM, lots of us spent our working lives in windowless offices. The police should be out on patrol and do not need upscale office space.

Christine Vernon  

Posted: February 22nd, 2019 7:22 PM

Great comment, Jim Major! We should not expect the police force, risking body and soul each and every day to work out of a basement with no sunlight in their offices! Their jobs are challenging enough without withholding a decent workplace in an environment respectful of what we ask of them as a community. How did it ever come to that! One thing that did bother me though in the article is the phrase "Crime is flat". Whooaaa! Crime is never flat. Crime is a tall exclamation point! That phrase might be intended to make people feel less threatened but there are statistics that tell us otherwise. When it is being reported that we had "1,650 total crimes committed last year" that is hardly flat, no matter what happened previously. It is not reassuring that there have been worse years. The constitution guarantees Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness and let that be our guide to what's right and what's wrong, and let that principle of being able to enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, (includes begin entitled to safety everywhere - on the L, on the street, in our homes) be enforced as the law, everywhere for everyone. We have a long way to go presently in 2019. None of this crime is flat kind of delusional thinking. None of us are thinking, it's OK, things have been worse in other years, or we have it better than other places. We should all feel safe all the time. Time for society to get there as a whole. Now, how do we do that? .

Jim Major from Oak Park   

Posted: February 22nd, 2019 4:30 PM

I am extremely proud of the job the OPPD does especially out of the current completely run down police station. When the new station is built I hope that it is something truly special . It must be viewed as a long term investment in public safety for our community.

Tom MacMillan from Oak Park  

Posted: February 21st, 2019 10:07 PM

If only there was a way to issue traffic citations for car jackings. The department's real priority seems to be issuing tickets now.

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