Forest Park’s crime rate dropped by 11 percent in 2012 compared to the previous year, with a drop in all categories of crime except incidents of theft – which increased by 13 percent – car theft and arson, according to statistics submitted by the Forest Park Police Dept. to the Illinois State Police.

Forest Park police reported 1,531 criminal complaints, down from 1,729 the previous year. Domestic complaints dropped by 21 to 109 in 2012.

Police made 186 felony arrests in 2012, up 25 percent from 2011. Misdemeanor arrests were up around 1 percent.

Forest Park Deputy Police Chief Tom Aftanas credited the rise in felony arrests to several factors including the bumping up to felony status charges for shoplifting and traffic stops, based on offenders’ past records. He also credits new video systems on the CTA with providing video that has been used to make additional arrests.

“The detectives cleared numerous cases of felony robberies, and these new tools helped,” Aftanas said.

Several higher-profile crimes resulted in felony arrests this year. In May, Gregory Hych, 33, was arrested a week after he allegedly shot a Bellwood man on a Saturday afternoon in the 7-Eleven parking lot, at Roosevelt Road and Desplaines Avenue in front of witnesses. Conservative Vice Lords gang member Julian B. Dailey was arrested on June 12 at his home on Desplaines where police recovered 86 grams of heroin, 13 grams of cocaine and $5,000 cash.

The Subway restaurant on the 300 block of N. Harlem was the scene of crimes in which Forest Park police made arrests for both burglary and robbery. Working with Oak Park police, Forest Park cops arrested Devon Lawery, 19, for burglaries that took place Oct.15 and 18. At the time of his arrest, Lawery was serving probation for breaking into Family Cleaners, Subway and King Chop Suey in the 300 block of Lake Street in Oak Park during the summer. Cooperating police departments identified a common modus operandi for the fast-food burglaries.

Then after a car chase into Berwyn, Oct. 28, police caught Effrain Valentin, who had recently been released from state prison, one of three men who allegedly robbed the same Subway at gunpoint, stealing $300 and a clerk’s cellphone.

Forest Park police also nabbed a carjacking crew on Oct. 19 from Chicago who used stolen credit cards to buy gas a block from their West Side apartment in the 4700 block of West Monroe and then parked the stolen vehicle in front.

Forest Park police also arrested Carol Mix, a woman who had been on the run for over a year after she, her brother and another man allegedly stomped and severely injured a shopper during a robbery attempt in February 2011 in the Ultra Foods Parking lot. Forest Park detectives found Mix living in Waterloo, Iowa, where they took her into custody to be extradited for Forest Park.

Incidents were down in every category of crime reported except, theft and arson.

Car thefts: Twenty-nine vehicles were stolen in Forest Park over the past year, down from 35 in 2011.

Arson: Charges have yet to be filed for the single arson-caused fire in the 1400 block of Marengo, which damaged a two-story rental house on June 1. There were no arsons in 2011.

Thefts: The number of thefts (including shoplifting) that took place in Forest Park rose to 608 in 2012 by 13 percent from 538. But Forest Park police also made 21 more theft arrests, up to 262 from 247 in 2011.

Criminal Sexual Assault: Two criminal sexual assaults were reported in Forest Park in 2012, down from four in 2011. One arrest was made.

Burglary: The number of burglaries reported in Forest Park dropped by 21 percent from 108 in 2011 to 86 in 2012. Forest Park police made 10 burglary arrests in 2012, the same number as in 2011.

Robbery: Incidents of robbery fell in Forest Park from 31 in 2012 to 27 in 2011.

The data was compiled under the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting index, a system used by law enforcement agencies to collect and report statistics, with a focus on what are considered the most serious offenses — murder, criminal sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault/battery, burglary, theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson.

Drugs: Fifty-nine people were charged with violating local ordinances for possession of cannabis down from 78 in 2011. Thirty-one people were charged with possession of controlled substance in 2012, down from 44 in 2011.

This article has been updated to provide the correct number of auto thefts in 2012.

Jean Lotus

Jean Lotus loves community journalism. She covers news, features, two school boards, village council, crime, park district and writes obits for Forest Park Review. She also covers the police beat for...