February 21st, 2019 1:47 PM
Graphic provided by Oak Park Police Department
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.