Crime in Champaign-Urbana - by the numbers

Crime in Champaign-Urbana - by the numbers

Robberies were up in Urbana and on the University of Illinois campus, but down in Champaign last year, according to crime data recently released by local police.

Champaign police reported 136 robberies and attempts in 2002, but that was down about 21 percent to 112 robberies for 2003. Urbana police reported 50 robberies and attempts in 2002, but an increase of about 38 percent to 69 robberies for 2003. University of Illinois police reported five robberies and attempts in 2002 and nine in 2003.

"We had a string of robberies recently, so it was not surprising to see an increase for the year," said Urbana Police Chief Eddie Adair.

"We did make some good arrests that helped to solve many of those cases," Adair said. "There were some good arrests in the past month, where we believe those people are responsible for multiple crimes."

Urbana saw an increase of about 16.5 percent in 2003 for total serious crimes – murder, rape, assault and battery, burglary, theft and arson. There were 2,343 of those crimes and attempts in 2002, compared with 2,730 for 2003.

The biggest jump in reported crimes came in vehicle burglaries and attempts. Urbana had 204 in 2003, compared with 141 the previous year.

On the positive side, Urbana reported 25 incidents of unlawful use of weapons last year – down from 40.

Adair said the economy is one possible factor in increased crime, along with an increase in the number of apartment complexes with high-density housing in Urbana.

"That's definitely a factor in our calls for service," Adair said. "We get more calls to apartment buildings than we do to single-family dwellings."

Urbana police reported an increase in calls for service of almost 6 percent for 2003 – 22,737 compared with 21,470 for the previous year.

Adair said increased drug activity in some areas of Urbana is probably another factor. Urbana reported 421 drug crimes in 2003, compared with 400 the previous year.

Drug crimes drive much of the other criminal activity, such as robbery and burglary, Adair said.

The Urbana chief said he hopes implementation of an Urbana Street Crimes Unit in December will reduce some of the drug, robbery and burglary crimes as arrests are made.

"I'm optimistic that with the new unit in place, we'll see a reduction of most serious criminal activity," Adair said.

Champaign police reported a drop of about 4 percent in overall serious crime, with 4,897 crimes and attempts in 2003 compared with 5,103 for 2002. The serious crime rate had an increase of less than 1 percent in 2002 compared with the previous year. Serious crime is down more than 23 percent over the past seven years.

"I try to identify any crimes where we can affect the crime rate," said Champaign Police Chief R.T. Finney, who took over the reins of the department in mid-November. "I use it as a tool to see how effective our deployment of resources is."

Burglaries and robberies, for example, are crimes where extra police patrols, street crime surveillance and persistent investigations can make a difference, the Champaign chief said.

Much of the reason for the drop in serious crime is a substantial decrease in thefts, including drops of more than 18 percent for felony theft, more than 8 percent for misdemeanor theft and nearly 4 percent for retail theft.

Champaign reported a drop of about 28 percent in armed robbery for 2003, along with a 38 percent decrease in aggravated robberies where a weapon was implied. Champaign also had a drop of nearly 10 percent in strong-arm or simple robberies and attempts.

Violent crime in Champaign was down nearly 7 percent in 2003, while property crimes were down only about 2.5 percent for the year.

However, Champaign reported a jump from 128 to 171 for motor vehicle thefts. Champaign police also reported an increase of nearly 14 percent in motor vehicle burglaries and attempts – 579 last year, compared with 513 the previous year. There was also an increase of nearly 8 percent in residential bur- glaries and attempts – 607 in 2003 compared with 563 in 2002.

"That's something we will keep an eye on," Finney said. "Those are areas of concern to us."

Like Adair, Finney said burglaries are the type of crime where several incidents are usually attributable to a few individuals.

"One car burglar can cause a high rate for motor vehicle burglaries," Finney said. "A small percentage of people are doing a large majority of some serious crimes."

University of Illinois police reported a drop in serious crimes from 415 in 2002 to 397 for 2003.

"My overall feeling is that I'm glad to see the trend come down somewhat. It has declined somewhat," said UI Police Chief O.J. Clark. "It's not much of a decrease, but it's a decrease. We'd like to see it much, much lower."

Year in and year out, the most persistent crime problem on campus is theft, which often involves students and staff leaving property unattended. UI reported 302 thefts last year, up slightly from 289 the previous year.

Violent crime was down, with a drop from 37 to 19 assault and battery cases.

One of the reasons for that particular drop, along with some other categories, was that there were only two preseason games for the Chicago Bears at the UI's Memorial Stadium last fall, compared with 10 preseason and regular season games in 2002.

Clark also noted that many of the crimes affecting university students, faculty and staff, such as robberies, burglaries and assaults, occur on the fringe areas near campus, but not on university property.

For several years, UI, Champaign and Urbana police have tracked the number of assaults and batteries, robber- ies, homicides and sex crimes in the area between University Avenue and Windsor Road and between Race Street and the railroad tracks just east of Neil Street.

"The bulk of our crime occurs on the fringes of our campus," Clark said.

"The biggest problem area is the northeast quadrant, which is no surprise. That's where the night life is and the highest concentration of student housing."

For the period of Sept. 1-Dec. 31, 2003, there were 74 such crimes – down from 103 for the same time in 2002.

Clark said the records again show that alcohol played a serious part in violent crimes for the area, with more than 77 percent of the victims or suspects found to have been drinking before assaults and batteries and criminal sexual assaults.

Total crimes reported in Urbana

Urbana Police Department 2002-2003 Crime Comparisons

2003

2002

% Change

Homicide

1

2

-50.0

Sexual Assault

40

35

14.3

Robbery

69

50

38.0

Assault

115

107

07.5

Battery

814

757

07.5

Burglary

404

377

07.2

Burglary - Vehicle

204

141

44.7

Theft

1,012

815

24.2

Motor Veh. Theft

64

53

20.8

Arson

7

6

16.7

Weapons Offenses

25

40

-37.5

Resisting/Obstr.

271

272

0.4

Drugs

421

400

5.3

Miscellaneous

1,962

1,901

3.2

Total Crimes

5,409

4,956

9.1

Violent crimes in Champaign

Champaign Police Department 2002-2003 Crime Comparisons

Violent Crime

Category

2002

2003

% + OR -

Murder

7

7

--

Sexual Assault-Criminal

49

37

-24.5

Sexual Assault-Agg. Criminal

19

18

-5.3

Sodomy-Forcible

2

1

-50

Sexual Assault w/Object

1

--

--

Robbery-Armed

68

49

-27.9

Robbery-Aggravated

13

8

-38.5

Robbery

61

55

-9.8

Vehicular Hijacking-Aggravated

3

--

--

Vehicular Hijacking

3

--

--

Battery-Aggravated

337

318

-5.6

Battery

331

350

5.7

Reckless Conduct

3

12

300

Battery-Heinous

--

1

--

Battery-Unborn Child

2

--

--

Battery-Aggravated-Child

7

5

-28.6

Battery-Domestic

789

675

-14.4

Battery-Aggravated Unborn Child

--

1

--

Battery-Aggravated-Domestic*

25

41

64

Battery-Aggravated-Senior Citizen

4

2

-50

Assault-Aggravated

105

123

17.1

Assault

69

68

-1.4

TOTALS

1898

1771

(-6.7%)

*Statistics for Battery-Aggravated-Domestic began in June 2002

Property crimes in Champaign

Champaign Police Department 2002-2003 Crime Comparisons

Property Crime

Category

2002

2003

% + OR -

Burglary-Commercial

428

374

-12.6

Burglary-Residential

563

607

7.8

Home Invasion

23

31

34.8

Theft from Motor Vehicle

33

31

-6.1

Theft of MV Parts & Access.

77

25

-67.5

Burglary MV Parts & Access.

7

3

-57.1

Burglary Motor Vehicle

513

579

12.9

Vehicle Invasion

1

3

200.0

Theft over $300

290

236

-18.6

Theft under $300

799

730

-8.6

Retail Theft

294

283

-3.7

Theft-Delivery Container

1

--

--

Pocket-Picking

6

--

--

Purse Snatching

2

1

-50.0

Theft from Building

2

1

-50.0

Theft from Coin-Op Machine

21

23

9.5

Motor Vehicle Theft

128

171

33.6

Arson

13

19

46.2

Arson-Aggravated

4

7

75.0

Explosive/Incendiary Device

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