Crime in Brookfield fell 26 percent last year

? The number of reported burglaries fell dramatically in 2004, while the village also saw drops in four other categories.

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By BOB UPHUES

Brookfield police last week formally presented its crime statistics for 2004, which showed that the village experienced its lowest number of reportable incidents since at least 2000.

Overall, Police Chief Thomas Schoenfeld reported that overall reportable crime in Brookfield fell 26 percent over 2003, with marked decreases reported in the number of burglaries and motor vehicle thefts.

"Just in general, when the detectives and patrol officers switched from eight-hour to 12-hour shifts we got more manpower [per shift] out there," Schoenfeld said. "We have more street coverage than we used to."

Each year, the department is required to submit crime statistics to the Illinois State Police as part of the state's Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program. Police departments must report crimes in eight major categories, including murder, criminal sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault/battery, burglary, theft, motor vehicle theft and arson.

In 2004, Brookfield reported 414 crimes to the state police versus 559 in 2003. The department's numbers for 2003 became an issue earlier this year, when it was found that Brookfield had amended its crime numbers after originally reporting 612 crimes in 2003. That number was amended last spring to 565, and again to 559 since January of this year.

According to the department's report dated Feb. 2, 2005, burglaries in Brookfield fell from 191 in 2003 to 74 in 2004, a drop of 61 percent. That drop comes after several years of fairly steady burglary numbers. In 2000, Brookfield reported 194 burglaries. That dropped to 184 in 2001, but rose again to 198 in 2002, before falling off slightly to 191 in 2003.

"You're a harder place to hit when you've got squads rolling around at all times of the day and all times of the night," Schoenfeld said. "You get a reputation, and I think our reputation is improving."

Motor vehicle thefts, meanwhile, decreased by 48 percent from 31 in 2003 to 16 in 2004. Robbery decreased 37.5 percent from 8 to 5, while arson fell from 5 to 3. Theft reports fell 4.5 percent from 310 to 296.

The number of incidents rose in two categories. Brookfield police reported 16 aggravated assault/battery cases compared to 11 in 2003, a 45.5 percent increase. Criminal sexual assaults increased from 3 to 4 year over year.

The number of aggravated assault/battery cases dropped precipitously in 2003 as the result of amending the initial UCR report to state police. Initially, Brookfield reported 84 aggravated assaults in 2003, but changed it to 11 after finding the department was reporting cases not required by the state police.

Brookfield police until 2004, meanwhile, reported a rise in cases between 2000 and 2003. In 2000, 176 thefts were reported compared to 259 in 2001. In 2002, the number of thefts dropped to 207, but jumped to 310 in 2003.

Brookfield has not reported a homicide since 2001.

While the number of crimes is down overall, the overall number of arrests is also down according to the UCR report. In 2003 Brookfield police made 104 arrests versus the 559 reported crimes. In other words the number of arrests in 2003 was 18 percent of the total number of cases reported to the state police.

In 2004, the Brookfield police made 47 arrests while reporting 414 crimes, or 11 percent of the total.

Looking solely at drug-related cases, Brookfield police made 83 arrests in 2004, a 20 percent jump over the 69 arrests made in 2003.

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