Arlington Heights Releases "Impressive" Crime Statistics, But FBI Cautions Against Ranking

Arlington Heights has the fourth lowest crime rate of 437 cities in the United States with populations of 75,000 and over, based on the 2013 crime data available from the FBI, which is the most recent Uniform Crime Rate report available. Read below for information on crime ranking from the FBI, and for information on publicly-released information and crime report leads regarding the Village of Arlington Heights.

For 2014, the Village of Arlington Heights reports the crime rate is expected to look even better. The Police Department recently reported its 2014 crime rate numbers to the FBI, noting an 8 percent drop from 2013, resulting in a historically low crime rate for Arlington Heights. The 2014 FBI report on crime statistics will not be formally released until later this year. The Village reports that continued low crime rates for the Village means that over the past decade, crime rate in Arlington Heights has decreased by 50 percent.

The Village of Arlington Heights reports the impressive crime rates resulted in Arlington Heights recently being named in the top 100 Safest Cities list of more than 25,000, a report compiled by an online research firm, NeighborhoodScout. The list is based on the total number of property and violent crimes that occur on a yearly basis per 1,000 residents.This is the third consecutive year the Village has made the top 100 list.

Arlington Heights ranked 61st in the Neighborhood Scout list. Locally, Park Ridge ranked 97, Elmhurst ranked 93, Carol Stream ranked 83, Hoffman Estates ranked 76, Mount Prospect ranked 73, Highland Park ranked, 63, Palatine ranked 49, Wheaton ranked 32, Buffalo Grove ranked 22, and Lake in the Hills raned 3.

"The Safest Cities listing and our recent crime statistic reports to the FBI validates the professional police work we do in Arlington Heights, and the low crime rate is a positive attribute for Arlington Heights," said Police Chief Gerald Mourning. "Our crime rate numbers reflect positively on our strong community support from both residents and businesses. We believe in embracing our community as our partner in crime prevention," Chief Mourning said. The Police Department will further study the annual FBI Uniform Crime Rates to help pinpoint emerging crime trends that then become a focus for the Police Department in terms of educating the public, crime prevention and Police preparedness.

"This ranking confirms that Arlington Heights is a great place for families to live and businesses to thrive. Ensuring the health, safety, and welfare of all who live and work in our community is our highest priority," said Mayor Thomas Hayes. "The Police Department's impressive success in doing so would not be possible without the cooperation and involvement of all of our community partners including our residents and business community."

However, the FBI cautions against ranking because rankings lead to simplistic and/or incomplete analyses that often create misleading perceptions adversely affecting cities and counties, along with their residents.

The FBI reports, in order to assess criminality and law enforcement's response from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, one must consider many variables, some of which, while having significant impact on crime, are not readily measurable or applicable pervasively among all locales. Geographic and demographic factors specific to each jurisdiction must be considered and applied if one is going to make an accurate and complete assessment of crime in that jurisdiction. Several sources of information are available that may assist the responsible researcher in exploring the many variables that affect crime in a particular locale. The U.S. Census Bureau data, for example, can be used to better understand the makeup of a locale's population. The transience of the population, its racial and ethnic makeup, its composition by age and gender, educational levels, and prevalent family structures are all key factors in assessing and comprehending the crime issue.

The FBI advises that one city may report more crime than a comparable one, not because there is more crime, but rather because its law enforcement agency, through proactive efforts, identifies more offenses. Attitudes of the citizens toward crime and their crime reporting practices, especially concerning minor offenses, also have an impact on the volume of crimes known to police.

In Arlington Heights, many crime reports from Citizen Observer are omitted. The reports focus on vehicle burglaries, residential burglaries, and purse thefts. And the reports put an extra emphasis on victim responsibility when victims leave a car unlocked or leave a purse unattended. The Citizen Observer reporting does not report all crimes in Arlington Heights, which misrepresents the scope of crime issues in Arlington Heights. Since police switched on a security channel that prevents the news media from monitoring police communications and public safety dispatches, the Citizen Observer reports do not release as much information about retail thefts, or retail theft attempts, and DUI offenses. There's no way to verify that all burglaries are reported through Citizen Observer either.

The Arlington Heights Police Department uses military-grade encrypted police radios which prevent the media or neighborhood watch groups from listening and picking up possible leads on crimes that are occurring in the Village of Arlington Heights. Some of these crimes are never reported to the public. Some of these crimes, because of their severity, are reported via press releases. And some crimes or police activity events are made known from other departments. For example, a high school student, who allegedly set fire to his family's house on Stratford Road in Prospect Heights near Arlington Heights in November 2014, was captured in Arlington Heights, but that information was not released via Citizen Observer. There is no continuous stream of criminal information released from Citizen Observer, it's really just a selection of property crimes predominantly.

No information on drug arrests have been released in Arlington Heights for at least a year. Many incidents, such as batteries, disturbances, disorderly conduct cases, gun-related investigations, other crimes, and suspicious incidents -- especially along Algonquin Road in or near low rate hotels -- are not reported to the public.

There is really no way to verify that the Arlington Heights Police Department statistics are accurate or true. Since Arlington Heights police are reporting their own crime statistics, it's a little like a high school student grading their own homework. The student might be a genius, or maybe not.

The Citizen Observer reports have no connection with the crime statistics that are reported to the FBI.

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