Crime rates are at their lowest in the Town of Normal since data was first collected and reported 23 years ago in 1996.
That’s according to Normal Police Chief Rick Bleichner and the department's 2018 Annual Report.
Bleichner said although the annual report is the only official data release, the department reviews local crime data on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.
“If we see that there are upticks in certain crime categories and we can attribute those to any trends or patterns, then we deploy resources to help combat that and try and look at preventing those,” he said. “And if we're not able to prevent them, then bringing the individuals in to be held accountable for those crimes.”
The number of reported offenses in 2018 fell by 7 percent, to 4,341, from 2017. The town saw decreases in criminal damage offenses, DUIs, vehicle burglaries, and weapons-related offenses in 2018, police said. The number of burglaries (up 12 percent), assaults and batteries (up 6 percent), and drug offenses (up 7 percent) all increased, police said.
There were two homicides, both stemming from the shooting last April at the Lancaster Heights apartment complex.
Below are Normal Police's Index Crimes over the past five years. Index Crimes include, homicide, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated battery and aggravated assault, burglary, theft, motor vehicle theft, and human trafficking.
Bleichner said he attributes the decrease in crime rate to crime-prevention programs and an engaged and aware public.
“The community is very engaged. I mean, we get calls on certain things. We're very responsive to those calls and I think that relationship then helps prevent things, maybe small things, that are going on. It helps prevent things from growing and having larger problems.”
He also credits the proactive work of the Normal Town Council to set a structure conducive to preventing crime.
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