Feb. 19, 2020 – Oak Park Police investigated 78 more crimes in 2019 than in 2018, nudging the overall crime rate up about 5 percent, according to data compiled by the Police Department for the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program that studies patterns and trends over time.
The biggest increase came in the theft category, which historically is the single largest category of crime reported in Oak Park. But the number of aggravated assault and battery cases was up as well, as police investigated 49 incidents in 2019 compared to 31 in 2018.
Oak Park Police Chief LaDon Reynolds pointed out that the overall crime rate in Oak Park remains low, as it has for many years, but added, “While crimes against property are by far the largest category of incidents in our community, the number one priority of the Oak Park Police Department is preventing crimes against persons.”
Preventing and solving these types of crimes requires a regional approach, according to Reynolds, who said that’s why Oak Park Police routinely partner with law enforcement agencies throughout the region, participate in special crime-fighting task forces and share information across jurisdictional lines.
Although the overall crime rate did increase in 2019, Reynolds stressed that the data continue to underscore the fact that Oak Park is a safe place to live and raise a family.
“I understand how word of a crime against an individual can shape one’s perception of personal safety,” he said. “Perhaps these numbers will offer some perspective to residents whose perception of crime may be unduly shaped by news reports and social media posts.”
Oak Park Police investigated 1,728 crimes in 2019, compared to 1,650 in 2018. Burglaries and thefts, which historically represent the vast majority of crime in the Village, remained the biggest categories at nearly 87 percent of all crimes committed in the community in 2019.
Ninety-six robberies and 49 assault/battery reports were investigated in 2019, as compared to 99 robberies and 31 assault/battery cases in 2018. These crimes, more than most, tend to reflect regional challenges, rather than just local ones, according to Police.
Thefts were up in 2019 – 1,253 reports compared to 1,077 in 2018 – but burglaries were down – 244 in 2019 compared to 357 in 2018. Locking garage doors and keeping a watchful eye on personal belongings are among the best deterrents to these crimes of opportunity, Police say.
Arrests were up in 2019, according to the official report. Oak Park Police arrested 256 suspects in the categories tracked under the crime index reporting system, up from 203 in 2018. Another 45 individuals were arrested for driving under the influence in 2019 and 33 individuals were arrested for drug violations.
Summary of Crime in Oak Park in 2019
- Thefts, typically crimes of opportunity, remained the single largest category of crimes reported in Oak Park. Some 1,253 thefts were reported in 2019, compared to 1,077 in 2018. Thefts included 126 bicycles, 38 of which were left unlocked and unattended.
- Burglary continued to be the second largest single crime category, with 244 cases reported in 2019, compared to 357 in 2018. The burglaries included 83 garages, of which 59 were unlocked.
- Police investigated 96 robberies in 2019, compared to 99 in 2018 and 134 in 2017.
- Vehicle thefts were up slightly in 2019, as Police investigated 71 incidents compared to 64 in 2018. Twenty-two of the vehicles were unlocked and running, while 20 had keys left inside.
- 49 aggravated assault/battery cases were reported in 2019, compared to 31 in 2018.
- 13 criminal sexual assaults were reported in 2019, compared to 17 in 2018. In eight of the cases, the victim knew the offender. Four of the incidents didn’t occur in Oak Park, but were reported while the victim was in a local hospital
- No homicides were reported in 2019, compared to two in 2018.
- 2 arsons were reported in 2019, compared to three in 2018. Neither was considered significant.
- Police responded to 65,028 calls for service in 2019, compared to 66,286 calls in 2018.