Brookfield’s crime rate fell for the second straight year, with the overall number of reportable crimes in 2005 falling 7 percent compared to 2004. According to the Illinois State Police’s Uniform Crime Report?”which includes the major crime categories of murder, criminal sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault/battery, burglary, theft, motor vehicle theft and arson?”Brookfield police reported 385 incidents in 2005, down from 414 in 2004.

The decline marked the first time since 2000 that Brookfield experienced two straight years of decline in crime stats. In 2004, the number of reportable crimes was down 26 percent from the number reported in 2003. Between 2000 and 2003, Brookfield crime numbers had seesawed back and forth.

Crime in 2001 was up 27 percent from 2000, but fell 14 percent from 2001 to 2002. In 2003, the number of reportable crimes was back up by 12 percent.

“We’re happy that crime is continuing to drop,” said Brookfield Police Lt. Michael Manescalchi. “Our goal is to keep it coming down.”

As has traditionally been the case, Brookfield reported little violent street crime in 2005. No murders have been reported in the village since 2001, and robberies are down to the lowest level since 2000. After experiencing four robberies in 2000, the number spiked at eight in 2003, before falling to three in 2005.

The number of criminal sexual assault cases are also down to their lowest levels since 2000. In 2000, Brookfield police reported nine such incidents. In 2005, there were just two.

The number of aggravated assault/battery incidents also continues to remain low, with just 13 reported in 2005. That number is similar to those reported in 2003 and 2004, but significantly lower than the numbers posted between 2000-02.

In 2001, the number of aggravated assault/battery incidents spiked at 89. In 2003, however, Brookfield police concluded that they were reporting misdemeanor incidents that did not qualify as aggravated assault/battery and no longer report those to the state police.

Thefts, traditionally the single highest crime category for the village, experienced a 14 percent drop off, from 296 in 2004 to 254 in 2005.

Brookfield did see two crime categories where incidents increased from 2004. Burglaries were up 15 percent, from 74 in 2004 to 85 in 2005. Meanwhile, motor vehicle thefts jumped 58 percent, from 16 in 2004 to 25 in 2005.

“Historically, thefts and burglaries have been the predominant crimes in the village,” Manescalchi said. “When you have cars parked on the streets and detached garages off alleys, there’s an opportunity here more so than towns where you have side drives with attached garages and no parking on the street.”

Overall arrests flat, drug arrests down

While the number of reportable crimes fell 7 percent in Brookfield in 2005, police reported 47 arrests in 2005 for those incidents. Police also reported 47 arrests in 2004, when overall crime was higher.

In particular, Brookfield saw a jump in burglary-related arrests. In 2005, Brookfield made 18 burglary arrests, compared to five in 2004.

Meanwhile, arrests for drug offenses dropped sharply in Brookfield in 2005. The total number of drug arrests made by Brookfield police in 2005 was down 61 percent from 2004. In all, police arrested 32 people in connection with drug offenses versus 83 in 2004.

However, Manescalchi said that the number of drug arrests by Brookfield police specifically is somewhat misleading.

“Our possession arrests are probably pretty close to last year,” he said. “Our delivery and warrant arrests are down, but they’re probably up in surrounding communities, because police work as a team on that.

“Where they’re arrested doesn’t mean that much, because these people are mobile. The jurisdiction is more for court purposes. But an arrest made in McCook or Lyons is going to help our town anyway.