Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- ‘Tis the season for counting, and, this year, Park Forest Police have much more to count than in previous years. Officers handled 23,968 incidents in 2017, compared to the roughly 18,000 calls for service in previous years.
So, why not panic? Doesn’t the fact that there were 5,000 more calls mean the town is less safe? Crawling with crime? Ready to explode? Going to “Hell in a handbasket?”
The last is my personal favorite from people ready to throw in the towel.
But not so fast.
Hold that towel.
Police began working with a new CAD system last year — that’s Computer Aided Dispatch. The previous system had its shortcomings, and the communities that make up SouthCom — the Villages of Matteson, Park
Forest, and Richton Park — searched for a replacement, implementing their replacement during the last calendar year.
The new system counts everything officers do, including traffic stops. The previous CAD system did not. So conducting a comparison of call volume with prior years will be difficult at this point without further analysis, police report.
There are other thing to take into consideration regarding those pesky statistics.
Call volume also does not reveal trends in crime, as incidents range from the very minor calls like loud noise complaints, animal calls, parking complaints, to the very serious calls.
So, more or less incidents does not necessarily correlate to more or less crime.
“Additionally, self-initiated activity by officers varies, and is also included in the number of incidents,” police said in a statement. “Our release of crime data later in 2018 will allow for a comparison of crime incidents by category and give a more accurate reflection of crime trends.”
The statement goes on to say that the number of incidents does accurately report that the women and men Park Forest Police Department work very hard to keep residents and visitors to our Village safe.
“Each incident represents at least one officer, often more, responding to some need in our community. It represents professional police service, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all year long,” the statement says.
“We know that 2018 will bring serious incidents for us to handle, challenging moments, and risk. That’s the nature of our business. But we’re proud to be able to serve as your police department, and we’re thankful for the many who partner with us as we work to keep Park Forest safe. We also know that in the coming year we are going to meet great citizens, build relationships, and help people in need. It’s why we do what we do,” the statement continues.
“So from the halls of the Park Forest Police Department to your home, Happy New Year. May it be a safe and happy year for each of you,” police conclude in the statement.