Statewide crime rate index in Illinois declines for fifth consecutive year

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

SPRINGFIELD -- The Illinois State Police (ISP) today announced the Illinois statewide crime rate index rate fell 01.3 percent in 2008.  Reports of arson realized the largest decrease while burglary, murder and robbery showed a marked increase. Index crimes compiled by the Illinois Uniform Crime Reporting Program are comprised of offenses considered to be the most prevalent and apt to be reported to law enforcement agencies. 

The eight index crimes include both crimes against persons (murder, criminal sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated battery and aggravated assault) and crimes against property (burglary, theft, motor vehicle theft and arson). 

"The most important responsibility of law enforcement is to keep people safe," said Director Monken.  "We can never stop working to improve in this area, and with the continued decline in the state's crime rate, we are moving in the right direction." 

During 2008, law enforcement agencies throughout the state reported a total of 456,359 indexed crimes compared to 457,071 in 2007, a difference of 712 fewer crimes being committed.

The crime rate index was down in the following categories:

Arson decreased by 9.9 percent, the largest decrease recorded for any index crime over the past five years.

Aggravated Assault/Battery and Motor Vehicle Theft both decreased over four percent

Theft decreased by 0.8 percent

Criminal Sexual Assault decreased by 0.2 percent

The following categories showed an increased crime rate index:

Burglary increased by 4.3 percent

Murder and Robbery increased by over 3 percent

"The increase in homicides in Illinois has all law enforcement agencies troubled as we work to reduce this phenomenon," said State Police Director Jonathon Monken.  "The Illinois State Police is currently involved in several initiatives to reverse this trend."

Those initiatives are as follows:

Participation in nine (9) major crime task forces in the Chicago metropolitan area which combine numerous law enforcement agencies for staffing and resources to address homicides which occur within those communities.

Implementation of a Major Crimes Response Protocol to respond to significant cases in jurisdictions not supported by a major crime task force.

High intensity patrol tactics in high crime areas of Chicago suburbs to reduce guns within those communities.  The Violent Crime Initiative resulted in the seizure of 48 weapons in 2008.

Participation in the East St. Louis Violence Crime Suppression Initiative which combines federal, state, and local law enforcement to target gun violence in the East St. Louis metropolitan area.

Participation in various Illinois Child Death Review Teams which examine child fatalities (including homicides) to recommend new policy implementation through state agencies which would protect children.

Partnership with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to trace guns seized in crimes to determine how those guns ended up in the hands of a criminal.  The FOID system allows law enforcement to restrict gun purchases to non-felons.

Participation in 20 multi-jurisdictional narcotics task forces which focus efforts on those violent criminal organizations trafficking narcotics and violence throughout Illinois.

The Statewide Terrorism and Intelligence Center, which is run by the Illinois State Police, tracks violent crime in Illinois and provides analytical resources to violent crime investigators of state and local agencies.

The following is a breakdown of crime rates encompassing all crimes for areas throughout the state:

Chicago  +3.1 percent

State minus Chicago  -2.2 percent

Cook County  +2.5 percent

Suburban Cook County  +1.0 percent

Collar Counties  -3.3 percent

Urban Counties  -3.3 percent

Rural Counties  -4.0 percent

Crime statistics are available on the ISP web site at