Police Chief Reports on 2006 Crime in Park Forest

Park Forest, IL—(ENEWSPF)— Park Forest Police Chief Tom Fleming delivered a report to the Village Board at the May 7 meeting outlining the year end 2006 crime statistics. Fleming referred to a PowerPoint presentation during his report. "We are compliant with the Federal Government under the Unified Crime Reporting Act, and what we do is report all significant, what are called Index Crimes, and I'm going to take you through some of these right now." Chief Fleming said the Index Crimes are broken down into 7 categories.

The first major category Fleming reported on is Criminal Homicide – Murder and Non-negligent Manslaughter. The PowerPoint presentation notes say, "As a general rule, any death caused by injuries received in a fight, argument, quarrel, assault, or commission of a crime is classified as Murder and Nonnegligent Mansalughter [sic]"

"In Park Forest, in May, we had one homicide. It's cleared by arrest, which gives us 100% clearance. As a note, that was not cleared until January. Currently, in our present year, we have one solved homicide that occurred in January also," Fleming continued.

The next major category covered was Forcible Rape. Fleming reported that there were 12 known offenses in Park Forest, "12 reported offenses. 10 of those have been cleared by arrests, which leaves 2 outstanding." The clearance rate in this catetegory was 83%

Robbery showed a 62% clearance rate, with 45 known offenses and 28 cleared by arrest. These instances include "the taking or attempting to take anything of value from the care, custody, or control of a person or persons by force or threat of force or violence and/or by putting the victim in fear," according to the presentaiton. Aggravated Assault showed a 90% clearance rate, with 48 known offenses and 43 cleared by arrest. "We treat every crime against a person as it is a homicide [sic]. We go to that level, that gives us the ability to put all our resources towards that. So, we're pretty proud of the Aggravated Battery clearance of 90%."

Burglary showed a 43% clearance rate, with 137 offenses known and 59 cleared. Fleming said that attempts at burglary are included in this count. "Currently in Cook County, if we arrest somebody, say we had 20 car windows shot out, and we arrest the person and they confess, the States Attorney will not allow us to charge that person with 20 offenses. Normally they'll only charge them with 3 or 4. But we would take what's called an 'Exceptional Clearance.' We're allowed to do that." Fleming contrasted that with Will County, which would charge the offender with every offense.

In the category of Larceny-Theft, there were 396 offenses known, and 152 cleared, showing a clearance rate of 38%. Fleming said that these figures include theft from motor vehicles, which in previous years were counted as burglaries. "What we're trying to do is be more consistent with what the UCR outline is.

2006 saw 9 reported cases of Arson in Park Forest with only one cleared. Fleming said the clearance rate is so low here because, "We include garbage cans in Central Park lit on fire." Fleming said he believes that one offender was responsible for several of the fires reported.

There were 61 reports of motor vehicle theft, with 11 cleared by arrest, an 18% clearance rate.

Police issued 5,181 parking tickets in 2006, and 3,768 traffic tickets. There were 50 DUIs, and 395 individuals driving with suspended or revoked licenses. These figures do not include municipal or M-tickets issued.

The grand total of Index and Non-Index (misdemeanor) offenses was 3,969, with 2,929 cleared by arrest and/or exceptionally cleared, for a grand total clearance rate of 73%.

Fleming said that the department has already recovered 17 firearms in the first 4 months of 2007, "the total of what we recovered in the 12 months of last year."

"We have made a concerted effort to go after guns," he said.