Feb. 2, 2018 – The overall crime rate in Oak Park increased a modest 2 percent in 2017, according to data compiled by the Police Department for the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program that studies patterns and trends over time.
The increase was driven in part by an uptick in robberies, the category that includes incidents of vehicle hijackings that officials say have spiked throughout the region.
Burglaries and thefts, which historically represent more than 80 percent of all crimes committed in Oak Park, remained the biggest categories, but decreased in 2017, according to the report, a drop Police attribute to residents who are locking doors and windows and properly securing their belongings.
“The statistics continue to show that Oak Park is a very safe place to live, work and raise a family,” said Oak Park Police Chief Anthony Ambrose. “I hope these numbers will provide some reassurance to residents in the community whose perception of crime in Oak Park may have been affected by the news reports and social media posts of events here and across the area.”
Ambrose pointed out that the crime rate in Oak Park remains low, as it has for many years, but added that the increase in robberies in 2017 is troubling even though the actual numbers remain relatively low.
“I know that statistics mean little to a victim who has come face-to-face with a criminal, which is why fighting these types of crimes is the number one priority of the Oak Park Police Department,” he said.
Oak Park Police investigated 1,635 crimes in 2017, up from the 1,605 crimes reported in 2016, but down from the 1,665 crimes reported in 2014. Police investigated 1,568 crimes in 2015.
Burglaries and thefts continued to represent the majority of all crimes committed in Oak Park in 2017, comprising more than 82 percent of all crimes investigated last year. Police investigated 1,035 thefts and 311 burglaries in 2017, compared to 1,057 thefts and 360 burglaries in 2016.
Police investigated 134 robberies in 2017, including 15 carjackings and four attempts, up from the 68 robberies reported in 2016. Four vehicle hijackings and one attempt were reported in 2016. Police arrested 10 suspects in connection with the 2017 carjackings.
Arrests also were up in 2017. Oak Park Police arrested 188 suspects in connection with the most serious offense categories under the crime index reporting system. Another 43 individuals were arrested for driving under the influence in 2017 and 10 individuals were arrested for drug violations.
Summary of Part crime in Oak Park during 2017
- Thefts, typically crimes of opportunity, remained the single largest category of crimes reported in Oak Park. Some 1,035 thefts were reported in 2017, compared to 1,057 in 2016.
- Burglary continued to be the second largest single crime category, with 311 cases reported in 2017, compared to 360 in 2016.
- Police investigated 134 robberies in 2017, compared to 68 in 2016. This categories includes the vehicle hijackings that have spiked in Oak Park and the across the region.
- Vehicle thefts were up in 2017, as Police investigated 107 incidents compared to 80 incidents in 2016. In 32 of the 2017 incidents, the keys were left inside unlocked, running vehicles.
- Thirty-five aggravated assault/battery cases were reported in 2017, compared to 34 in 2016.
- Nine criminal sexual assaults were reported in 2017, compared to three in 2016. In seven of the 2017 cases, the victim knew the offender.
- Two homicides occurred in 2017, the first in Oak Park since 2012. One of the homicides was ruled justifiable when a licensed gun owner shot an armed attacker.
- Two arsons were reported in 2017, compared to three in 2016. None were significant.
- Police responded to 67,580 calls for service in 2017, compared to 65,830 calls in 2016.
More information about the Oak Park Police, including crime prevention tips, is posted at www.oak-park.us/police.