The Brookfield Police Department is reporting that the number of serious crimes occurring in the village during 2014 fell by a whopping 38 percent compared to 2013.
In addition, the 237 crimes the department has submitted to the Illinois State Police represent the lowest number of serious crimes Brookfield has reported in at least the last 14 years.
The crime numbers, released last week as part of the department’s 2014 annual report, are part of the Uniform Crime Report each police agency in the state must submit annually to the Illinois State Police, who then submit the statewide figures to the FBI.
The Uniform Crime Report tracks only eight categories of violent and property crimes, including murder, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault/battery, burglary, theft, vehicle theft and arson.
For the fourth straight year, there were no murders reported. The last time anyone was murdered in Brookfield was in 2010, when two people were killed. Police solved one of those cases, the murder of 65-year-old Marilyn Fay. The two people convicted of that murder each are serving 35-year sentences.
Police have not solved the other 2010 murder. In that incident, 38-year-old Bashar “Bob” Fakouri was fatally shot during a liquor store holdup on Ogden Avenue.
Brookfield police reported conducting eight criminal sexual assault investigations in 2014, three of which led to the arrests of two men.
One of those arrested was 69-year-old James Clemmons, of Justice, who allegedly sexually assaulted a 9-year-old girl for whom he was a babysitter. Clemmons remains in Cook County Jail awaiting trial.
Police in 2014 also arrested 21-year-old Samuel Morales, who is accused of raping a 13-year-old girl and sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl. He is being held at Cook County Jail without bond and has a May 22 court date.
Meanwhile, Brookfield police reported a dramatic drop in the number of property-related crimes in 2014, particularly in the categories of burglary and theft.
In 2013, the village saw a notable spike in such crimes. The 278 thefts reported that year were the most experienced in Brookfield since 2007, while the 74 burglaries in 2013 were the most the village had seen since 2005.
But in 2013, Brookfield police arrested one man who they said was responsible for more than 70 burglaries within a two-month period. He was convicted and remained in state prison until August 2014.
Partly as a result of that arrest, property crimes in Brookfield in 2014 fell sharply. The 46 burglaries reported in the village that year represented a 36.5-percent drop year over year, while thefts (155 in 2014) fell by 44 percent.
Property crimes, particularly theft, annually represent the most common crimes in Brookfield. Serious, violent crime remains rare.
“That’s always the way it goes. They go out and commit the crimes, we catch them and the crimes stop,” said Brookfield Police Chief Steven Stelter. “It’s a revolving door.
“Everything is consistent. There’s no corner of the world you can go without burglaries, thefts and drugs. You have a steady stream of those and it’s good that the big stuff is rare.”
While crime is unpredictable from year to year, a look at Brookfield’s numbers do seem to indicate less serious crime recently. From 2000 to 2007, Brookfield police reported an average of 454 total incidents to the Illinois State Police. From 2008 to 2014, on the other hand, police have reported an average of 312 incidents per year. Where the village saw a huge fall-off in reported incidents was in the burglary category, which averaged 191 between 2000 and 2003.
In 2004, that number dropped to 74 and has never been greater than 85 since.