|h3>2007 annual crime statistics show a decline in all categories |
The Illinois State Police (ISP) today announced the Illinois crime rate fell 3.6 percent in 2007, with reports of murder and motor vehicle theft realizing the biggest decreases. Unlike 2006 when murder and robberies increased, none of the index crime categories increased last year. Index crime statistics compiled by the Illinois Uniform Crime Reporting Program are comprised of offenses considered to be the most prevalent and apt to be reported to law enforcement agencies. The eight index crimes include both crimes against persons (murder, criminal sexual assault, robbery, aggravated battery and aggravated assault) and crimes against property (burglary, theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson).
“As pleased as I am with an overall decrease by 3.6% in the crime rate and a decrease in every category, law enforcement must remain diligent,” said ISP Director Larry G. Trent. “Law enforcement cannot get complacent as a result of this overall decrease. We must ensure that resources and manpower are utilized effectively to maintain this trend.”
Law enforcement agencies throughout the state reported a total of 456,085 indexed crimes last year, compared to 470,730 in 2006, a difference of 14,645.
The crime rate was down in all categories including the following:
The following is a breakdown of crime rates for areas throughout the state:
- Motor Vehicle Theft decreased for the 8th consecutive year by 10%
- Murder, after a slight increase in 2006, decreased 4.8%
- Robbery decreased by 3.9%
- Burglary and Theft both decreased over 3 %
- Criminal Sexual Assault decreased 2.9%
- Arson decreased 2.7%
Offenses (all crimes)
- Chicago - 3.5%
- State minus Chicago - 3.5%
- Cook County - 2.9%
- Suburban Cook County - 1.5%
- Collar Counties - 4.7%
- Urban Counties - 4.1%
- Rural Counties - 3.1%
“Under the leadership and direction of Governor Blagojevich, significant accomplishments were achieved which have contributed to a decrease in the crime rate and promoted information sharing amongst law enforcement agencies and the citizens of Illinois,” emphasized Director Trent.
The following crime fighting initiatives were implemented by Governor Blagojevich:
Fighting Internet Crime
In February, as part of his aggressive plan to fight internet crime and protect families and communities from sexual predators, Governor Blagojevich created a centralized Internet Crimes Unit (ICU) internet crimes web site, www.isp.state.il.us/icu. While the internet has many useful applications, it also affords opportunities for criminals and sexual predators. The web site serves as a “One-Stop-Shopping” center where the public can report suspicious online behavior and get information about internet crime and safety, using the most advanced law enforcement technology available. In addition, the ISP entered into a partnership with NetSmartz and state police officers went into classrooms around to the state to teach kids, teachers, and parents, how to be safe on the internet.
In September, the Governor signed a law which increased protections for children against sexual predators by making it a criminal offense for someone to intentionally lure a minor through electronic media, and classifies an individual as a sexual predator if they have been convicted of two or more offenses of luring a minor.
Two new on-line registries were created in 2007 in addition to the sex offender registry being enhanced with a mapping function. On May 20, Governor Blagojevich unveiled two new features to the ISP’s web site which provide communities with more information about individuals convicted of sex offenses, child murderers, and violent offenders who have harmed children. The enhancements are the result of legislation signed by the Governor to protect communities from sexual predators.
Mapping capabilities were enhanced to show names and addresses of offenders on the Illinois Sex Offender Registry. Individuals making an inquiry on the site can determine the residence of a registered sex offender through a map with a radius from 500 feet to five miles from their home or any other address. Locations of schools and city, county, and state parks are also displayed.
Also, a statewide Child Murderer and Violent Offender Against Youth Database was created. It is accessible on the internet and identifies violent offenders who have been convicted of certain offenses and/or crimes against children. They must register as a Violent Offender Against Youth. The data is searchable via a mapping system which identifies offenders living within a five mile radius of an identified address. The site was launched on April 17, 2007, with the mapping functionality added on May 20, 2007.
Curbing the Use of Methamphetamines
Lastly, the Methamphetamine Manufacturer Registry was created for the purpose of identifying methamphetamine manufacturers who were convicted on or after June 5, 2006, of a violation of the Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act. To fulfill the provisions of the mandate, a link from the ISP home page to the registry is provided which allows anyone with internet access to find the names, dates of birth, county and date of conviction, and qualifying offense as mandated by the legislation. Also included are links to other relevant web sites and information. The site was launched on June 24, 2007.
“We announced enhancements to our home page last year in order to provide additional resources to protect our communities,” said Director Trent. “The improvements give law enforcement additional tools as we provide public safety and ensure violent criminals are being monitored more closely.”
Also apparent in 2007 was the reduction of methamphetamine labs. After several changes in legislation and enforcement efforts of the ISP Meth Response Teams, meth labs do not appear to be as prevalent. Governor Blagojevich, in May, awarded $535,000 in Anhydrous Ammonia Security Grants to 50 Illinois agrichemical dealers throughout the state. The funding helps businesses secure their facilities to prevent the theft of anhydrous ammonia, a farm fertilizer and key ingredient used to manufacture methamphetamine. This was the second installment of grants since the Governor created the Anhydrous Ammonia Grant Program. In 2005, there were 973 labs seized, 793 in 2006 and 446 in 2007.
In October, Governor Blagojevich signed a law that toughened existing anti-methamphetamine laws by making any attempt to possess, procure, transport, store, or deliver a key meth ingredient a Class 4 felony. Class 4 felonies can carry a prison term of one to three years and/or a fine of up to $25,000. Senate Bill 274 made it a felony to attempt to steal, improperly store, or transport anhydrous ammonia. The storage of anhydrous ammonia in unauthorized containers can be extremely dangerous.
Addressing Campus Security and Gun Violence
A week after the Virginia Tech tragedy in April 2007, Governor Blagojevich announced three new initiatives to increase safety on more than 180 college campuses throughout Illinois. The Governor’s initiatives, which build upon his K-12 school security initiatives instituted in 2005, included the creation of a task force charged with developing training to help colleges prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies. The second initiative included $300,000 in grants to improve interoperable communications capabilities on campuses; and the third involved the addition of college officials and campus security representatives to the multi-agency Illinois Terrorism Task Force, which develops and implements the state’s homeland security strategy.
In July, Governor Blagojevich joined the families of gun violence victims, legislators, the Illinois Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and other gun safety advocates to call on the Illinois General Assembly to pass a ban on the high capacity ammunition clips that are needed to operate assault weapons and make semi-automatic handguns more deadly. At a press conference in front of the emergency room at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago, the Governor urged the House of Representatives to support SB1007 which would ban the delivery, sale, purchase, or possession of ammunition clips that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
Crime statistics are available on the ISP web site at http://www.isp.state.il.us/crime/cii2007.cfm.