THE LANDMARK VIEW
After not having experienced a homicide in Brookfield for a decade, it has come as quite a shock that the village has witnessed two murders in the span of a month. Both were vicious, cold-blooded killings leaving dead two people who made an impact on the lives of local residents.
Sure their occupations couldn’t have been more different – Marilyn Fay was a retired school teacher and part-time librarian and Bob Fakhouri was a Jordanian immigrant who owned a liquor store – but those who knew them were devastated by their deaths and the ruthlessness of the circumstances.
Add to the mix a bizarre shooting in September 2009 – the man shot a half dozen times miraculously escaped death – and the brutal baseball bat beating of a teenage girl in February and it’s clear that Brookfield has experienced an odd burst in violent crime.
If there’s any good news to result from such incidents, it’s that in nearly all of the cases, police have arrested and charged suspects. The September shooting ended in the arrest of two people, including the man’s stepdaughter. Two men were arrested in the February beating and remain in Cook County Jail awaiting trial. And, of course, the man believed to have killed Marilyn Fay has been indicted and is in jail awaiting his arraignment later this month.
While the uptick in violent crime is troubling, we hope that it won’t be cynically exploited for political gains. That, we believe, would be a repugnant reaction to these tragic events, trading on people’s fears. Apart from some comments on the web, we haven’t seen it being done much, and we hope it stays that way.
That being said, Brookfield police should take into account the unease people in town might be feeling and attempt to address it directly. Make no mistake none of the incidents described above were “preventable” by local law enforcement. Two were apparently domestic-type situations, the February victim and her attackers also apparently knew one another and the liquor store robbery was a crime of opportunity.
When police responded, they did so quickly and effectively. But the department and local officials must also face the reality that it is short-staffed and leaders should make its case to residents, who wonder why this violent crime is happening all of a sudden on their streets.
Leaving it unaddressed will only reinforce that, somehow, decisions to layoff personnel and make other cuts in the past year have made the village less safe. We don’t believe that to be the case, but we’re not the ones officials need to convince.