News - Joliet and Will County

Joliet police release 13-year crime rate study

Information released to follow claims that some said were exaggerated

JOLIET – Evergreen Terrace has averaged 16 violent crimes per 1,000 residents over the past 13 years, a rate more than three times the citywide average, according to a Joliet Police Department study released to the City Council on Tuesday.

That compares to a citywide average of 5 violent crimes per 1,000, according to the report. Average per capita crime rates for other multifamily complexes in the city were 2 per 1,000 for Bellarmine, 4 for Lois Place, 8 for Des Plaines Gardens and 11 for Fairview.

Mayor Tom Giarrante said his decision to release the report followed claims by community activist Bob Hernandez at Monday’s council session that the city exaggerated the amount of crime at the complex.

Joliet Police Chief Brian Benton noted that while crime rates across the city go up and down based on a number of factors, they tend to be higher in areas where there are dense population concentrations.

“Evergreen Terrace continues to pose a problem,” Benton said.

Other factors affecting city crime rates include everything from the age of the residents to the season, Benton noted.

The report also looked at what types of violent crimes were most prevalent in each housing complex, including homicides, sexual assaults, robberies, aggravated batteries and aggravated assaults.

Aggravated battery was the most common crime, with an average yearly rate of 9 per 1,000 at Evergreen Terrace, 6 at Fairview, 4 at Des Plaines and 1 each at Bellarmine and Lois Place.

Among aggravated assaults, Fairview and Evergreen Terrace led the list with an average yearly rate of 3 per 1,000, followed by Des Plaines with 2 and Bellarmine and Lois Place with 1 each.

Evergreen Terrace lead the group with an average of 3 robberies per 1,000, followed by Des Plaines, Fairview and Lois Place with 1 each.

The report listed criminal sexual assaults and homicides in raw numbers due to their relative infrequency.

Lois Place and Bellarmine had the highest number of murders with 3 each, followed by Evergreen Terrace and Fairview with 2 each and Des Plaines with one.

Evergreen Terrace had 10 sexual assaults over the last 13 years, followed by Lois Place with nine and Des Plaines, Fairview and Bellamine with three each.

Over the course of the study, violent crime at Evergreen Terrace spiked in 2002 and 2006 with more than 20 incidents per 1,000, and again in 2011 with more than 25 incidents per 1,000, before dropping down to 16 per 1,000 in 2012. The report noted that crime statistics for 2013 were based on estimates.

The study noted that the “citywide per capita trend during this time period showed a general downward trend.”

Crime rates over the same period decreased 73 percent at Lois Place, were unchanged at Bellarmine and increased 44 percent at Evergreen Terrace, 50 percent at Des Plaines and 175 percent at Fairview, according to the report.

The report concluded that “Des Plaines, Fairview and Evergreen Terrace continue to report serious crime over time. Although there have been some fluctuations, there is little evidence that any significant improvement has been made during the time period examined.”