According to the Illinois State Police and the Forest Park Police Department, crime is down 19 percent from 2003 to 2004.
For residents this decrease is real. It represents less burglaries, less robberies and less car thefts. It means safer streets and peace of mind.
But there is also another effect: less incidents of graffiti, a problem the police department is currently dealing with, means a cleaner looking community, an increment in the well being of the community and an increase in the value of the community as a whole in the eyes of potential investors.
More officer initiated safety checks means there is a decrease in burglaries in key corridors like Madison Street.
There is still a lot of work to be done and it is important to keep in mind that most of the cases the department here deals with are of the Wal-Mart thievery variety.
It is a tribute to our community and to our department that the majority of crimes in the area are retail theft and that there was a reduction in the number of aggravated criminal assaults and robberies.
While the numbers are small and unpredictable, it is also important to note that there was an increase in sexual assaults (from 0 to 2) and in murders (0 to 1) from 2003 to 2004. We hope these numbers might also decrease in 2005 as the department increases its visibility in our streets.
We would also like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the Forest Park Fire Department paramedics, Forest Park Police Department officers and to all who helped out when our columnist Bob Sullivan had his St. Patrick’s Day accident.
What could have been a tragic accident turned out fine thanks in part to the quick response of bystanders and emergency personnel who appeared at the scene very quickly, assessed the situation and transported Sullivan to the Emergency Room at Loyola Medical Center.
It is truly a holiday we will never forget.