March 10, 2023 - Oak Park Police investigated 238 more crimes in 2022 than in 2021, pushing the overall crime rate up about 11 percent, according to data compiled by the Police Department for the FBI’s National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS) used by law enforcement agencies in the United States for collecting and reporting data on crimes.
“The overall crime numbers in Oak Park did show a modest year-over-year increase in 2022, but it’s important to note that this trend aligns with what we have seen regionally and across the country since the onset of the pandemic three years ago,” said Oak Park Police Chief Shatonya Johnson. “Oak Park remains a wonderful and safe place to live, work and entertain. The men and women of the Oak Park Police Department remain wholly committed to collaborating within the community in order to move all of these numbers downward in 2023 and beyond.”
The biggest increase came in motor vehicle thefts as there were 266 in 2022 compared to 71 in 2021. The uptick reflects a trend across the region and country as Hyundai and Kia models manufactured from 2010 to 2021 that use a mechanical key to start rather than a key fob and push-button have been specifically been targeted.
“This unfortunate rise in motor vehicle thefts corresponds to a nationwide trend that was popularized on social media and really took off in the second half of 2022,” said Johnson. “Again, it is not unique to Oak Park and is a growing concern throughout the law enforcement community not only in Chicagoland and Illinois, but across the United States.”
On February 25, 2023, the Oak Park Police Department gave away around 80 steering wheel locks to owners of Hyundai and Kia vehicles during an event held in the police station lobby at Village Hall. An additional 20 steering wheel locks were reserved by residents as part of the giveaway.
Oak Park Police investigated 3,349 crimes in 2022, compared to 3,011 in 2021. Thefts and property crimes that historically represent the largest share of lawbreaking in the Village, remained the biggest categories in 2022.
Thefts were up last year – there were 1,198 reports in 2022 compared to 884 in 2021 – but burglaries were down – 173 in 2022 compared to 311 in 2021. Police officials say locking garage doors and keeping a watchful eye on personal belongings are among the best deterrents to these crimes of opportunity.
The number of assault and battery cases was up slightly in 2022, as police investigated 546 incidents in 2022 compared to 538 in 2021.
The death of an 18-year-old female in June was one of three homicides reported in 2022, and two individuals were arrested in the case. Police continue to investigate the other two homicides with the aid of regional, state and federal agencies.
“We know that nothing can undo the tragedy that occurred in Oak Park and claimed the young life of Jailyn Logan-Bledsoe,” said Johnson. “We can only hope that the arrests were able to bring some closure to her loved ones and those impacted throughout the community.”
Juvenile crimes increased in 2022, with 99 crimes involving juveniles investigated in 2022 compared to 67 in 2021.
Police investigated 1,889 traffic-related incidents in 2022. Of those incidents, 606 occurred in intersections, 34 involved pedestrians and 30 involved bicycles. By comparison, there were 1,909 traffic-related incidents in 2021, 648 of which occurred in an intersection, 35 of which involved a bicycle and 25 of which involved a pedestrian.
For more information about the Oak Park Police Department, visit www.oak-park.us/police, call 708.386.3800 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.