By SHANE NICHOLSON
Shaw Media correspondent
SYCAMORE – Police Chief Jim Winters gave his annual rundown of crime statistics at Monday’s meeting, and said the city continues to see an improvement in its overall crime figures.
Index crimes, used as a benchmark for the Illinois State Police Uniform Crime Reporting Program under FBI guidelines, reached a 30-year low in 2018 with only 192 reported.
Index crimes include crimes against a person such as homicides and assaults as well as property crimes such as burglary and motor vehicle theft.
City Manager Brian Gregory said the numbers showed progress in the city’s policing efforts.
“A couple years ago, we had a string of people breaking into unlocked cars,” Gregory said. “That threw off the figures a bit.” But, he added, the statistics for index crimes overall is still showing progress, with the numbers down about 20 percent over the past five years.
Winters highlighted the continuing efforts of the department’s “Lock It or Lose It” campaign in the decline of property thefts.
“Last year was the second year of the campaign, and we’ve seen a really good downward trend in the thefts from motor vehicles and burglaries,” he said.
Driving under the influence statistics also showed marked improvement during 2018 with 52 total arrests, the lowest figure since 2013. Total arrests reached their lowest total since 2014 with 411 on the books.
Winters said continued outreach in the community plays a large part in improved policing outcomes.
“The more interaction we have, the more we can get to know the community and understand them,” he said. “And they, in turn, can better understand us.”