SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced 2003 crime statistics reflecting a decrease in statewide crime for the ninth consecutive year. Overall, the Illinois crime rate was down 4.8 percent from 2002. Law enforcement agencies throughout the state reported that a total of 497,693 indexed crimes occurred last year compared with 519,192 the previous year.
In 2003, the total number of violent crimes decreased 7.7 percent. Murders decreased 6.8 percent while incidents of aggravated assault and battery reflected the biggest decrease at 9.0 percent. Robbery decreased 6.0 percent and reports of criminal sexual assault dropped by 4.6 percent. Statewide property crimes also saw a decline of 3.5 percent from last year. Motor vehicle theft dropped 6.7 percent and theft declined 2.9 percent. Reports of burglary and arson decreased by 3.9 percent and 5.4 percent respectfully.
The Illinois State Police cites several factors that may contribute to dropping crime rates. Those factors include greater sharing of information between law enforcement agencies, better laboratory facilities and various technological advances.
"I would like to commend Illinois' law enforcement officers for all of their hard work in protecting the citizens of this state. We must continue to make sure police have the tools they need to fight crime. That's why we need to continue making strong public safety investments, including resources to clear the DNA backlog and expand the I-CLEAR information sharing system statewide," said Governor Blagojevich. Announced earlier this year by Governor Blagojevich, I-CLEAR is an exciting new partnership between the Illinois State Police and Chicago Police Department which allows for the sharing of arrest and crime incident information among law enforcement agencies throughout the state. This comprehensive law enforcement information integration effort provides law enforcement with the analytical tools they need to more effectively solve crimes, resulting in a lower crime rate.
The DNA backlog at the state's crime labs has also been drastically reduced from 1,113 cases in January to the present backlog of 176 cases due to a funding allocation from the Governor's Office. The funding also allowed the Department to hire more forensics personnel who are currently taking part in an accelerated training program.
In addition to I-CLEAR and the reduced DNA backlog, the compliance rate of the ISP's Sex Offender Registry also increased. In December 2003, the ISP partnered with state and local agencies in an effort to improve the accuracy of the information available on the ISP Sex Offender Registry and web site. The improvements, along with a public awareness program and innovative enforcement methods, have served to reduce the number of noncompliant offenders and improve the compliance rate from 86 percent in January to the current rate of 90 percent.
A breakdown of other areas of the state is as follows:
| Offenses (all crimes) |
| Chicago || -4.3% |
| Downstate || -4.1% |
| Cook County || -4.9% |
| Suburban Cook County || -6.2% |
| Collar Counties || -1.4% |
| Urban Counties || -4.7% |
| Rural Counties || -2.3% |
"The continued decline in the overall crime rate is good news for the citizens of our state," said Illinois State Police Director Larry G. Trent. "The public safety community deserves a huge pat on the back for their continued efforts in protecting the lives and property of Illinois citizens."