FBI: Aurora crime rate drops in 2012
By Stephanie Lulay firstname.lastname@example.org January 14, 2013 11:46AM
Aurora Police investigate an early evening shooting on Friday May 25, 2012 on Aurora's East Side. One person was wounded in the incident. | Terence Guider-Shaw~For Sun-Times Media
AURORA Crime comparison
The FBI released statistics Monday comparing the number of violent crimes for the first six months of 2011 to the first six months of 2012. The report listed cities with populations above 100,000. Statistics for Aurora show about a 9 percent drop in violent crime during that period.
TOTAL VIOLENT CRIMES
2011 — 280
2012 — 256
2011 — 1
2012 — 0
2011 — 21
2012 — 24
2011 — 180
2012 — 168
2011 — 78
2012 — 64
2011 — 1,780
2012 — 1,596
2011 — 407
2012 — 405
2011 — 1,316
2012 — 1,138
MOTOR VEHICLE THEFT
2011 — 57
2012 — 53
2011 — 5
2012 — 15
The FBI report on
violent crimes provided info on seven Illinois communities, besides Chicago.
Updated: February 16, 2013 6:16AM
AURORA — Two years ago, it seemed like a lofty police department goal.
But an FBI report released Monday confirms that the goal Aurora Police Chief Greg Thomas set in 2010 — a 10 percent drop in crime in two years — was met in at least the first half of 2012.
FBI statistics show that violent crime and property crime fell sharply in the first six months of 2012, compared to the same time in 2011 — bucking a national and statewide trend.
The collective numbers reflect a 10 percent drop in crime in the first half of the year.
The total number of violent crimes in the city fell from 280 in the first six months of 2011 to 256 during the same time in 2012, a drop of almost 9 percent.
There were no murders in Aurora in the first six months of 2012 — and none for the entire year — compared to one in the same time period in 2011. The number of robberies, aggravated assaults, property crimes, burglaries, thefts and motor vehicle thefts also fell, according to the FBI report.
The only two categories where violent crime rose in Aurora were forcible rape, from 21 in the first six months of 2011 to 24 in the first six months of 2012; and arson, which went from 5 in 2011 to 15 in 2012.
Time to fight crime
Aurora Police Chief Greg Thomas said that the absence of murders in 2012 meant that police had more time to dedicate toward reducing other types of crime.
“You have a finite amount time, money, resources and manpower — the shootings and the murders take up a lot of manpower and resources,” Thomas said. “When you have none, you have much more time to dedicate toward fighting other types of crime.”
The reduction in overall crime coupled with Aurora’s no-murder year in 2012 has people viewing Aurora in a new light, Mayor Tom Weisner said Monday.
“Hopefully people start recognizing that Aurora is a safer community each and every year,” Thomas said. “I hope at some point (safety) sticks that it’s the new norm.”
Besides Aurora, of all the cities over 100,000 population in Illinois, the violent crime rate fell only in Rockford and Springfield. The rate went up in Elgin, Joliet, Naperville and Peoria.
Nationally, violent crimes increased by 1.9 percent in the first six months of 2012, compared to 2011, according to the statistics in the FBI’s Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report.
The number of property crimes increased 1.5 percent nationally for the same time frame.
Thomas said that reducing the number of burglaries in the city was a top priority in 2012. He said that police continue to benefit from LeadsOnline, a system that helps police look for stolen goods and an ordinance that required Aurora pawn shops, recycling centers and other second-hand businesses to upload information to the system. Both were implemented in July 2011.
There was a slight decrease in the number of burglaries — from 407 in the first half of 2011 to 405 in the first half of 2012. Thefts fell from 1,316 in the first half of 2011 to 1,138 for the same time in 2012
This year, Thomas said that police are adding a K-9 unit that will help police search for drugs, explosives and help find missing people.
The department is also adding a forensic technician to tackle the electronic evidence or component of a crime.
“So much crime is now done electronically,” Thomas said, by using the Internet, computers or cellular phones.
Thomas said he also hopes to have an injunction granted this year that would prohibit gang defendants from engaging in any acts considered to be “gang-related,” which include gathering and loitering in public with other known gang members, displaying gang signs, shouting gang slogans, recruiting new members and violating curfew.
If the injunction is granted, any time two gang members mentioned in the lawsuit are seen in public together, they can be arrested and charged with the misdemeanor offense of unlawful contact with a known street gang member. At the time of an arrest, they could also be searched for illegal drugs or weapons.
The FBI report is based on information from more than 13,300 law enforcement agencies that submitted three to six comparable months of data to the FBI in the first six months of 2011 and 2012.