DeKALB – Besides murders, the crimes DeKalb Police Chief Gene Lowery worries most about are robberies and burglaries.
Statistics available from Illinois State Police’s Uniform Crime Report show that the number of robberies in DeKalb in 2013 was 28, the same as in 2012. The number of burglaries decreased about 13 percent, to 181 from 209.
Overall, crimes reported by DeKalb police decreased by almost 6 percent in 2013, with 1,433 incidents reported. Lowery credits initiatives such as having proactive street enforcement dealing with gangs and street crime, as well as Lowery becoming DeKalb police’s representative of a federal drug enforcement task force.
“As chief, I decided it was important for us to change from more of a reactive to a proactive police agency,” Lowery said. “We can point back to all these measures and say these programs are working.”
The statistics show reported crime decreased for nearly all the local police agencies. The statistics were available through the Uniform Crime Report, which includes both closed cases and those still pending.
The Uniform Crime Report includes criminal homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated battery, burglary, theft, auto theft and arson, as well as drug arrests, which are in a separate category. It does not include fraud-related offenses, a category of crime that local police said has grown in recent years.
Of the major police agencies in the county, the Sycamore Police Department was the only one to report a rise in crime, from 261 offenses in 2012 to 280 in last year. This does not include drug arrests, which decreased slightly in Sycamore from 56 to 54.
“You’re going to have a certain number in each category. Our goal is to try to minimize those as much as we can,” Sycamore police Lt. Darrell Johnson said. “Some of that is not in our control.”
Northern Illinois University also saw a decrease in crime from 221 offenses in 2012 to 196 in 2013. However, drug arrests quadrupled, from 34 in 2012 to 136 in 2013.
Reported marijuana-related arrests more than tripled, from 24 to 78, and those arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia rose from nine in 2012 to 51 last year.
NIU police chief Tom Phillips, who was hired in September, said his department works closely with the student judicial system, which is similar to DeKalb’s municipal ordinances, to decide whether a crime merits making an arrest.
“We’re working with different groups to provide education to students about alcohol and drug use and educating them about concerns,” Phillips said. “I don’t see huge spikes in violent crime.”
Phillips also said his agency’s cooperation with the city of DeKalb has been a success. NIU officers are now riding in patrol cars with DeKalb police as part of a co-policing effort, something that hasn’t been done in more than a decade, Lowery said.
“There’s no better way for officers to work towards the same goals than to have them working together and putting them in the same car,” Phillips said. “The information-sharing is expanding exponentially.”
Gary Dumdie, the DeKalb Sheriff’s chief deputy, said some of the Uniform Crime Report data differs depending on many factors, including how many arrests were made in each case.
Dumdie said internet crime and fraud cases are booming in the county, and those are not included in the Uniform Crime Report.
“That’s been a trend we’re watching for years, and it continues to grow and grow and grow,” he said.
Ty Lynch, Genoa police chief, said his department does monthly analyses of crime and compares that data to yearly figures.
Lynch said he wasn’t concerned about any of the data he saw. Genoa reported 51 offenses in 2013 and made 31 drug arrests.
“We continue to go down in crime,” Lynch said. “As far as I’m concerned, we’re sitting pretty.”