March 9, 2020 – More than 360 reports of identity theft related to false claims filed for unemployment insurance drove up Oak Park’s crime rate about 10 percent in 2020 as compared to 2019, according to data compiled by the Police Department for the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program that studies patterns and trends over time.
Oak Park Police investigated 166 more crimes in 2020 than in 2019. But the theft category, which included 364 possible fraudulent unemployment compensation claims involving residents, saw the biggest increase – 1,395 reports in 2020 as compared to 1,253 in the prior year.
Oak Park Police investigated 1,894 crimes in 2020, compared to 1,728 in 2019. Burglaries and thefts, property crimes that historically represent the majority of lawbreaking in the Village, remained the biggest categories at more than 85 percent of all crimes committed in the community in 2020.
While thefts were up in 2020, burglaries were down — 220 in 2020 compared to 244 in 2019. Locking garage doors and keeping a watchful eye on personal belongings are among the best deterrents to these crimes of opportunity, Police say.
One hundred eight robberies and 67 assault/battery reports were investigated in 2020, as compared to 96 robberies and 49 assault/battery cases in 2019. These crimes, more than most, tend to reflect regional challenges, rather than just local ones, according to Police.
The deaths of a prominent local couple were the only homicides reported in 2020, after no murders were reported in 2019. Police say they are vigorously investigating the homicides with the help of regional, state and federal law enforcement agencies.
Arrests were down overall in 2020, according to the official report, but up significantly for robberies — 37 in 2020 compared to 13 in 2019.
Police investigated 3,575 traffic-related incidents in 2020, including 1,490 accidents, compared to 5,438 incidents involving 2,120 accidents in 2019.
Juvenile crime was down significantly in 2020, according to the report. Thirty-two crimes involving juveniles were investigated in 2020, compared to 67 in 2019.
For more information on the Oak Park Police Department, visit www.oak-park.us/police.
2020 Crime Summary
- Thefts, typically crimes of opportunity, remained the single largest category of crimes reported in Oak Park. Some 1,395 thefts were reported in 2020, compared to 1,253 in 2019. Thefts included 364 reports of possible identify theft after false claims were filed in residents’ names for unemployment insurance. Thieves also stole 85 bicycles, 57 of which were left unlocked and unattended.
- Burglary continued to be the second largest single crime category, with 220 cases reported in 2020, compared to 244 in 2019. The burglaries included 117 garages, of which 97 were unlocked.
- Police investigated 108 robberies in 2020, compared to 96 in 2019. Some 37 robbery suspects were arrested in 2020, up from the 13 arrested in 2019.
- Vehicle thefts were up in 2020, as Police investigated 85 incidents compared to 71 in 2019. Eleven of the vehicles were unlocked and running, while 18 had keys left inside.
- 67 aggravated assault/battery cases were reported in 2020, compared to 49 in 2019.
- 15 criminal sexual assaults were reported in 2020, compared to 13 in 2019. In nine of the cases, the victim knew the offender. Six of the incidents didn’t occur in Oak Park, but were reported while the victim was in a local hospital.
- Two homicides were reported in 2020, compared to none in 2019. The incident involved a married couple and still is under investigation.
- Two arsons were reported in 2020, the same as in 2019. Neither was considered significant.
- Police investigated 3,575 traffic-related incidents in 2020, including 1,490 accidents, compared to 5,438 incidents involving 2,120 accidents in 2019. Traffic stops in 2020 led to 30 arrests for driving under the influence in 2020.
- Twenty-one individuals were arrested for drug violations in 2020, compared to 33 in 2019.
- Thirty-two crimes involving juveniles were investigated in 2020, compared to 67 in 2019. Only one juvenile was arrested for a drug-related incident, compared to five in 2019.
Visit www.oak-park.us/police for more information on the Oak Park Police Department.