CALUMET CITY | Police officials said Tuesday that crime is on the decline in the city, and they plan to create a new detail of officers to focus on River Oaks shopping center.
Police Chief Edward L. Gilmore and his highest-ranking deputies made a presentation to the City Council, offering statistics about Calumet City’s crime rate and what police have been doing to address crime problems in recent years.
Gilmore said special details of officers focus on street gangs, burglary and commercial business areas. He said having officers pay special attention to those potential problems has caused the numbers of criminal incidents to go down.
With that in mind, Gilmore said he plans to create a new detail where officers will be assigned to patrol the River Oaks mall and will work with mall security.
Gilmore would not say exactly when the new detail would begin, but he said it would be in place for the upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays and could become a permanent assignment within the Police Department.
“It’s about respecting our revenue engine,” Gilmore said of the extra officers who will work at the shopping mall. “We have to protect our mall.”
Gilmore also said he plans to have Cook County sheriff’s officers with expertise in patrolling such areas to work with Calumet City police to help guide them. The full-time detail also will be supplemented with off-duty officers, Gilmore said.
Second Ward Alderman Magdalena “Leni” Wosczynski said she was pleased that attention is being paid to the shopping mall and that it will be in place for the holiday season.
Police officials cited several areas where the number of crimes is on the decline – from homicide (three incidents this year, compared with six last year and 10 in 2006) to forcible rape (35 each in 2008 and 2009, down to 17 this year, although Gilmore said five of the cases were for incidents that occurred in past years but were not reported until now) to burglary.
For the latter, there were more than 700 incidents per year reported each year between 2008 and 2011, while the total for this year is just over 300.
“Those are the facts that we report to the FBI,” Gilmore said of the crime statistics.
Third Ward Alderman Thaddeus Jones said he expects many of his constituents will be disbelieving of statistics showing crime on the decline.
“They hear about incidents and it gets magnified by five,” Jones said. “Many people still think crime is on the rise in Calumet City.”
Police Commander William Siems said he gets the sense that people often magnify the significance of personal incidents.
“Sometimes, bad things that happen to people stick in their brains,” he said.