City police officers last year seized 35% more firearms than in 2021, according to statistics released Tuesday by the Naperville Police Department.
And while personal and property crimes are down from the previous year, what’s trending higher over the last four years is the number of firearms turned over to police or taken from people who were illegally transporting them or didn’t have a license to own them, Police Chief Jason Arres said.
Statistics show Naperville officers seized 73 guns in 2019, 82 in 2020, 146 in 2021 and 198 in 2022.
The rise, according to the chief, reflects the department’s committment to looking for and seizing illegal weapons, with 109 of the 198 taken by police during traffic stops.
“I have no doubt we prevented shootings, whether it was in Naperville or some other community by being proactive with that,” Arres said.
Statistics show crimes against persons make up about a quarter of the total crime in Naperville in 2022, with roughly 95% falling into the category of assault, which includes domestic reports, intimidation and incidents involving physical contact.
Nearly 60% of the city’s reported crime in 2022 is classified as property crimes, most of which are theft, fraud (including identity theft) and vandalism, Arres said.
The department continues to urge residents to lock their vehicles, garages and homes to deter thieves.
About 96% of residential vehicle burglaries and 90% of stolen vehicles were because owners left them unlocked, numbers show.
In many cases of the stolen vehicles, the keys had been left inside, Arres said.
“Think about how just by locking our cars, how much crime could have been prevented in this town. The same thing goes with stolen vehicles,” he said.
Mental health remains an issue in Naperville.
“Our numbers unfortunately remained pretty consistent there. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that’s down because it is but not a significant amount,” Arres said.
Reports of prescription drug and heroin overdoses have been on the decline since 2020.
Arres suggested the reduced numbers might because of the availability of naloxone, the medicine used to reverse suspected opioid overdoses.
In 2022, prescription drug overdoses fell to a four-year low of 28, compared to 38 in 2021, 57 in 2020 and 39 in 2019.
Heroin overdose calls also fell to 18 in 2022 after peaking at 36 in 2020. There were 21 heroin overdoses in 2021 and 18 in 2019.
Despite the drop in overdose reports, Naperville saw an increase in fatal drug overdoses in 2022. There were nine reported last year, compared to two the previous year.
Four overdose deaths occurred in 2019 and five in 2020.
Arres said of the 30 cases of rapes reported to police in 2022, most were situations where the victims knew or were acquainted with their attacker.
While it does not minimize the seriousness of the crime, none of the rape cases involved random incidents in which a stranger attacked someone on the street, he said.
Fleeing and eluding continues to be an increasingly pervasive problem locally and throughout the country, the chief said.
Local data shows 137 people fled from officers in 2022, up from 102 in 2021, 51 in 2020 and 28 in 2019.
Traffic crashes, which dropped significantly during the height of the COVID‐19 pandemic, have been steadily increasing in recent years.
Data shows 2,003 crashes were reported in 2020, 2,438 in 2021 and 2,863 in 2022.
Two crash fatalities were reported in 2022, down from six in 2021 and five in 2020.
The department converted to a new system for reporting crime and incident data to the state in mid‐2021, moving from Uniform Crime Reporting, or UCR, to the National Incident‐Based Reporting System, or NIBRS.
What’s different, Arres said, is that UCR only counted the most serious offense within an incident. Under NIBRS, up to 10 offenses are counted per incident.
In many crime categories, he said, NIBRS counts the number of victims rather than the number of incidents as well the number of attempted and completed crimes.
Those factors make it difficult to compare data sets between the two systems, Arres said.