After experiencing two consecutive years of seeing serious crimes rise in Riverside, the number of offenses reported by police fell slightly in 2010.
On Monday, Police Chief Thomas Weitzel released the preliminary uniform crime report for 2010, which tracks several categories of serious violent and property crimes. The crime report is required of each police agency, which turns over its numbers to the Illinois State Police for certification.
The department reported a total of 196 reportable incidents, down 2.5 percent from 2009’s total of 201.
However, said Weitzel, the report does not reflect how busy the department was in 2010 and doesn’t include information about calls for service and arrests, which were up sharply from last year. The activity has remained high into 2011.
“If you look at the crime report, it’s down, but our activity is up,” Weitzel said. “If this trend continues when the weather gets warmer, we’ll be up significantly in arrests and activity.”
According to Weitzel, calls for service jumped 11 percent in 2010, representing about 900 more calls for service over 2009. While he didn’t have firm numbers on arrests, Weitzel said, “arrests were way up. And if the beginning of this year is any indication, it’s going to be more busy in 2011.”
Weitzel also indicated that arrests for driving under the influence were up in 2010 and are up sharply in 2011, due in part to officers being assigned permanent shifts as of Jan. 1.
“The most aggressive officers for DUI are working [the midnight] shift,” Weitzel said.
In addition, Weitzel said, 2010 numbers don’t reflect an increase in juvenile arrests and in drug-related offenses.
Much of the juvenile crime was related to incidents at Riverside-Brookfield High School, said Weitzel. However, he said his officers are reporting that incidents there have cooled in 2011 after the expulsion of several students who were self-admitted gang members.
“A small percentage of individuals were causing a large percentage of the police response,” Weitzel said. “That appears to have died down with the recent expulsions.”
Figures for 2010 show that violent crime was down in Riverside while property crimes remained about the same year over year. No homicides or arson incidents were reported in Riverside during the year, and police also reported no cases of criminal sexual assault or robbery. In 2009, Riverside police investigated six robberies and two rapes.
The only violent crime category where police saw an uptick was in aggravated assault/battery, where the number of incidents went from three in 2009 to eight in 2010.
Meanwhile, the number of burglaries reported in Riverside remained stable, with 15 reported in 2010 compared to 16 in 2009. Burglary is where force is used to break into a vehicle or building to steal something.
Theft, as usual, drove Riverside’s crime index. Police reported 169 thefts in 2010, two more than were reported in 2009. Theft means stealing something without the use of force from, typically, items left unattended or in unsecured areas.
The Illinois State Police will issue its statewide crime report in June.