Elgin saw an increase in serious crime in 2022 but a 12% decrease in gunfire incidents compared to 2021, according to the annual report released Thursday.
There was a 6% increase in crimes designated as “Part I,” which includes such things as murder, robbery, sexual assault and aggravated assault, but when viewed over the last three decades, such crimes have gone dramatically in the city, Police Chief Ana Lalley said.
In 1989, there were 4,905 cases classified as Part 1 crimes in Elgin. Last year, the number was 1,374, Lalley said, which is a 72% drop.
Elgin had three homicides last year, down from six in 2021. Robberies decreased from 36 in 2021 to 33 in 2022, data shows.
However, aggravated assaults increased from 158 in 2021 to 204 last year and sexual assaults climbed from 74 to 79, according to the statistics. Burglaries increased from 104 to 141 and burglaries to motor vehicles jumped from 187 to 298, data shows.
But the number of gunfire incidents went from a high of 66 in 2021 to 58 last year. Seven of those incidents resulted in five injuries and two deaths, Lalley said. Overall, there was a 25% decrease in the number of gunshot victims.
The police chief attributed the overall drop to the establishment of a new detail assigned to just those types of cases and to making sure officers were aware that reducing those gunfire cases was a priority. The department also worked with the Kane County Sheriff’s Office and Illinois State Police to get firearms off the street and seized 73 guns in 2022, she said.
Additionally, police continuously “pushed the message to the community that (gunfire) is unacceptable,” Lalley said. Residents were invaluable in terms of providing information about gunfire cases, which is key to investigations, she said.
“In 2023, we will continue our focus of reducing these incidents, keeping the community informed when they occur and working with our community to solve these incidents,” Lalley said.
The number of arrests increased by 15% last year, with most related to outstanding warrants, domestic battery incidents and driving under the influence of alcohol situations, according to the report.
Of the 2,144 people arrested, 1,010 were Hispanics, 564 Black, 516 white, 22 Asian/Pacific Islander, 10 Middle Eastern, and 22 who listed their race as other. Out of the total number of arrests, 44 required officers to “respond to resistance” and 60 resulted in “show of force, meaning an officer pulled out a stun gun or handgun, Lalley said.
When compared to the number of arrests, use and show of force is “such a small portion,” she said said. “We are still in a downward trend.”
Other report highlights cited the department’s continued focus on promoting mental health and fitness for department members, which was reinforced with the addition of a new health and wellness coordinator; ongoing work on department accreditation, which should be completed in a few months; and implementation of new emergency radio and in-car camera systems.
Gloria Casas is a freelance reporter for The Courier-News.