|SPRINGFIELD, IL -- Illinois State Police Director Terrance W. Gainer announced today a decrease in statewide crime for the fifth time in the last six years. Reports of violent crime decreased 4.3 percent, while property crimes were down 2.3 percent. Overall, the number of serious crimes reported in Illinois in 1997 were down 2.6 percent from the year before.|
"We saw this trend emerge in 1992, and except for 1994, when we saw a fractional increase, the trend has been positive ever since," said Gainer. "Local police chiefs, sheriffs and their communities should be commended for their effective work in significantly contributing to a reduction in crime."
All violent crimes were down for the year, with reports of murder representing the greatest downturn, shrinking by 6.3 percent. Reports of robbery were down by 6 percent, while aggravated assault/battery decreased 3.5 percent and criminal sexual assault declined 2.5 percent.
All property crimes statewide showed improvement as well. Arson led the way with a 5.8 percent decrease. Motor vehicle theft fell 3.4 percent, while burglary and theft declined 2.5 percent and 2 percent respectively.
As in the rest of the state, Chicago saw decreases in both violent and property crimes in 1997. All violent crime categories showed a decrease of reported offenses. Criminal sexual assault saw the biggest decrease of 7.5 percent. Robbery went down 5.8 percent, murder decreased 4.1 percent and aggravated assault/battery declined 1.6 percent. Among property crimes in Chicago, motor vehicle theft and arson saw decreases of 1.4 percent and 1 percent respectively, while burglary and theft increased slightly at .4 percent and .1 percent respectively.
Downstate totals reflect the downward trend in both violent and property crimes. Among violent crimes downstate, murder declined 11 percent, robbery went down 6.5 percent and aggravated assault/battery decreased 5.9 percent. Only criminal sexual assault showed an increase -- of 1 percent. Downstate property crimes all showed improvement, with arson down 9.1 percent, motor vehicle theft declined 6.2 percent and burglary and theft decreased 4.3 percent and 3.1 percent respectively.
Gainer pointed to a combination of factors which contribute to this healthy trend: 1) effective community policing and problem solving strategies, 2) more police officers, 3) parental and community involvement, 4) drug and alcohol treatment programs, 5) reasonable gun laws, 6) incarceration of repeat offenders, 7) a good economy, 8) the aging of offenders.
"Statewide, we saw nearly 17,000 fewer crimes committed in 1997 than the year before," Gainer said. "That means 17,000 fewer friends and loved ones had to endure the pain of being victimized by crime. That’s the real story behind the numbers," he concluded.