Overall crime in Belvidere was down in 2016
TuesdayPosted Mar 14, 2017 at 9:00 AM
By Susan Vela
BELVIDERE — Belvidere leaders are touting their city as safe and sound after the overall crime rate declined last year.
Police Chief Jan Noble released his annual crime report to City Council in late February. Findings included 1,784 offenses reported for about 30 categories, which was about 11 percent less than in 2015. However, there were increases in some categories such as larcenies, sex offenses and weapons violations in 2016.
Noble has emphasized several statistics indicating the city is safe, including a mere three robberies for all of 2016. That compared with 14 in 2015 and 12 in 2014.
"Probably most prevalent throughout the ... report was the lack of violent crime, as compared to our good friend next door, the city of Rockford," he said.
Some report highlights were as follows:
— Belvidere's approximately 40 police officers received about 2,800 hours of training in 2016. The city paid about $1,300 for each officer's training.
— Police officers were busiest on Fridays and Saturdays. In 2016, their busiest month was August, when they responded to 231 incidents. In 2015, the busiest month was March.
— The Gang Intervention Unit issued 60 traffic citations and made 28 arrests.
— There were no homicides in 2016. There was one in 2015.
— Police responded to fewer burglaries, fraud offenses and property destruction, damage and vandalism.
Meanwhile, sex offenses spiked nearly 30 percent to 65. Deputy Chief Shane Woody said young people are more aware of sex offenses and are more willing to report the crimes.
There also were 45 percent more larcenies, which jumped to 266, and more weapons violations, which jumped more than 200 percent to 47.
Woody said police officers are constantly trying to do community outreach. They also do their best to be proactive with certain types of crimes. For example, they might warn senior citizens of fraud schemes over the phone.
He also credited the police department's Volunteers in Police Service program. Volunteers help with traffic, parades and other community events.
It was the second year in a row overall crime had dropped. Crime was down 15 percent in 2015.
"Our crime rate is so low to begin with," Mayor Mike Chamberlain said. "It's the safest town I know of to live in. I'm ecstatic."