Nearly 90 percent of all crime in Oak Park is against property, with garages and bicycles the most frequent targets of burglars and thieves. But sharing a border with the nation’s third largest city means that more violent crimes such as armed robberies and vehicle hijackings do sometimes occur in Oak Park. The best defense, Oak Park Police say, is to try to avoiding being an easy victim. Police recommend the following:
- Report any suspicious activity or person immediately by calling 911.
- If possible, don’t walk alone during late-night hours — there is safety in numbers.
- Let a family member or friend know your destination and your estimated time of arrival or return so police can be notified as quickly as possible if there is a problem.
- Stay in well-lit areas as much as possible, avoiding alleys and secluded areas that are not heavily traveled.
- Walk on the sidewalk whenever possible, staying close to the curb, avoiding doorways, bushes and other potential hiding places.
- Walk confidently, directly, and at a steady pace, and don’t stop to talk to strangers.
- Always be aware of your surroundings — if you are wearing headphones, don’t turn up the volume so high that you cannot hear outside noises.
- If you observe another vehicle or people in the alley when parking in your garage, continue driving and call 911.
- When parked, be aware of your surroundings -— if someone approaches your vehicle drive off immediately.
- Trust your instincts — if something or someone makes you uneasy, avoid the person or leave.
- If someone tries to rob you, don’t resist, but try to note details about your attacker that may help Police make an arrest.
More information on the Oak Park’s approach to community policing is posted online at www.oak-park.us/police.