The crime rate in the village dropped 17 percent from 2010 to 2011 — to the lowest it has been in five years, according to crime statistics released by Shorewood police this week.
Shorewood Police Chief David Banaszynski attributes the decrease to officers patrolling more often, the department's detectives cracking cases and making more arrests and residents phoning in suspicious activity more often.
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“Crime is cyclical, so we can’t take 100 percent of the credit for a decrease in crime in any one year,” Banaszynski said. “But, I think there are a few reasons why crime is down this year. The guys are out there really pounding the beat. They are putting more miles on the cars and becoming more visible.”
There were 353 crimes reported in 2011, compared to 429 last year. Here’s a breakdown of the numbers:
- Three robberies reported in 2011; compared to nine the previous year.
- Eighteen assaults last year compared with 23 in 2010.
- Reports of burglary decreased from 31 in 2010 to 19 last year.
- There were 306 incidents of theft reported in 2011, decreasing from 359.
- The incidence of auto thefts remained the same at seven.
- There were no reports of rape or murder.
The crime rate decreased nearly 9 percent, for 2010.
Banaszynski said his sergeants and lieutenants had more time to patrol and become a presence on the streets with a deputy chief handling a lot of the administrative tasks they would otherwise be responsible for.
Arrests of key suspects helped
Banaszynski said as his detectives and officers made arrests they saw the incidence of certain crimes drop.
“We had a lot of burglaries in January of last year … we arrested through DNA samples from the scene a group of three whom we knew were responsible for all the burglaries from January and December 2010,” he said.
After the three were arrested the incidents dropped. Additionally, Banaszynski said the department arrested a resident that is known by officers for a string of theft from autos in early spring, and as a result, the crime waned.
“When you take key players out of the mix that target our area, crime does go down,” Banaszynski said.
Locking cars would make big difference
Banaszynski said the decrease in crime in Shorewood is largely a result of residents calling police more often and reporting suspicious activity. But the department's next goal is to have residents become more vigilant and lock up their property.
Most of the thefts reported in 2011 came from unlocked property — 61 of the 306 thefts were unlocked bicycles, according to the department's crime report.
"Lock your garages, lock your cars, take your valuables out of your cars ... criminals want easy pickings," he said. "If they go over the parking lot, and see a car with their door unlocked and see a wallet and the keys to the car sitting in the car, it's a crime of opportunity."
Shorewood police also responded to three heroin overdoses, and several other drug and prescription drug cases in 2011, including arresting and seeing charges filed against a Shorewood man who had a marijuana-growing operation in his apartment.