The number of serious violent and property crimes committed in Brookfield during 2017 fell by 16 percent, according to the police department’s Uniform Crime Report, which tracks eight categories, including murder, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault/battery, burglary, theft, motor vehicle theft and arson.
Each law enforcement agency in the state produces a Uniform Crime Report, which is sent to the Illinois State Police. The figures are used to reveal crime trends throughout Illinois and are shared with the FBI to track crime nationally.
While criminal activity fluctuates annually, last year’s total of 240 reportable crimes is the lowest number in Brookfield since 2014 and the second-lowest number of total reportable crimes since 2000.
Of particular note, the number of residential and vehicle burglaries in Brookfield dropped dramatically, from 67 in 2016 to 34 in 2017 – a decrease of 49 percent. The only years in which Brookfield reported fewer burglaries during the new millennium was in 2007 and 2008.
Police Chief James Episcopo noted that the department made two burglary arrests in early 2017, which may have contributed to keeping those numbers low.
The village also experienced far fewer vehicle thefts in 2017 compared to the prior year.
“[Burglary prevention] was a focus,” said Episcopo.
Prevention efforts initiated by Brookfield police in the past couple of years can’t necessarily be quantified, said Episcopo, but the chief said his “see something, say something” initiative is paying dividends.
“We get a lot more calls here than we used to,” said Episcopo. “Some people might think it’s silly to call when they see someone who might look suspicious, but to me there’s no harm in swinging by, saying ‘hi’ and making sure it’s nothing. Our guys are professional and treat people with respect.”
Violent crime was also lower in 2017 compared to the previous year. In 2016, the village experienced its first homicide since 2010. Last year’s homicide was a targeted killing of a witness in a criminal trial. Police arrested three people in connection with that murder, and all three remain in Cook County Jail awaiting trial.
There were no homicides reported in Brookfield in 2017, while sexual assault cases remained about the same and robberies ticked up slightly.
However, the police reported the fewest number of aggravated assault/battery incidents in recent memory. Although criteria for reporting such crimes has changed somewhat over time, Brookfield experienced just three such incidents last year. As recently as 2015, police had reported 16 aggravated assault/battery incidents. In 2001, police reported a whopping 89.
Aggravated assault/battery cases have fallen sharply the past two years, and Episcopo chalked up at least part of the decline to the eradication of 4 a.m. liquor licenses in 2015.
“I still attribute a lot of it to getting rid of 4 a.m. licenses,” Episcopo said. “If you look back at 2016 and 2017, our bar calls, especially late, have come to a minimum.”