Preliminary statistics show that crime in Skokie declined by 6 percent in 2012 from 2011. This marks the fifth consecutive year of declining crime in the community, the village said in a press release.
A total of 4,572 crimes occurred in Skokie in 2012, which is down from 4,866 in 2011. The number of crimes reported in 2012 is below the five-year average of 5,149 total crimes per year, and also below the 20-year average of 5,209 total offenses per year, according to the village.
“The continued decline in crime in the community is attributable to a number of factors including the slow but steady improvement in national economic conditions and changes in law enforcement investigation and response tactics," said Skokie Police Chief Anthony Scarpelli.
“Another significant factor is the village’s growing Neighborhood Watch Program. There are currently 211 blocks actively participating in the initiative that puts an entire neighborhood on the lookout for suspicious activity.
"Approximately 50 blocks have joined this program in the past few years," he added.
According to the village, robberies in 2012 were down by 8 percent, burglaries were down 13 percent, theft decreased by 2 percent and motor vehicle theft dropped by 14 percent.
The only increase in any major crime category were sex offenses, with a total of 42 incidents in 2011 and 50 occurrences in 2012, a 19 percent increase.
Meanwhile, selected crimes against persons, excluding domestic offenses, dropped from 461 incidents in 2011 to 436 incidents in 2012, and also remain below both the five- and ten-year averages, according to the village press release.
Scarpelli comments on the impact these crimes have on the community.
“Although crimes against persons are fewer in number than most property crimes, they are typically more newsworthy," the police chief said. "These offenses garner more publicity which possibly contributes to a misperception that overall crime is rising in the community.
"It is important to note that approximately 8 to 9 percent of all crimes are against persons, with the remaining 91 to 92 percent of crimes are against property," he added.
That number translates to about 411 crimes against an individual, or 9 percent of the 4,572 crimes reported in 2012.
A more detailed version of police statistics will become available when the police department publishes its annual report, which usually comes out in March or April.