Arrests, traffic citations up in Sycamore, according to 2022 Sycamore Police Department crime data

Sycamore Police Chief Jim Winters speaks to Sycamore City Council while giving the Sycamore Police Department 2022 annual report on May 1, 2023.

SYCAMORE – The total number of traffic stops, traffic citations and arrests for driving while under the influence incidents in Sycamore increased in 2022, according to the Sycamore Police Department 2022 annual report given by Chief Jim Winters.

Winters presented his department’s 2022 crime data to the Sycamore City Council on May 1, detailing trends regarding crime and public safety in the city of Sycamore. Winters leads the department’s 41-person staff with a $4.8 million 2022 budget, according to the report.

According to the department’s data, some instances of violent crime in Sycamore also differed from 2021. Aggravated and simple assaults rose from 12 in 2021 to 17 in 2022, the report shows, and from 70 simple assaults in 2021 to 110 in 2022.

Winters said he believes his officers continue to do good work in the community.

“While we enjoy that relatively low crime rate in Sycamore, when crimes do occur, the officers really respond effectively, and they do it in a very professional manner,” Winters said. “We’re going to continue that mission ... having professional police officers who are working within the communities, whether that’s the business community, the residential community or the school community.”

Crime statistics

In 2021, Sycamore police made 411 arrests compared with 604 in 2022, according to the report.

Sycamore police conducted 2,165 traffic stops in 2022, 539 more than 2021, data shows. In 2022, 1,093 traffic citations were issued compared with 680 in 2021. Additionally, reported incidents of individuals driving while under the influence rose from 33 in 2021 to 51 in 2022.

At the same time, the total number of offenses listed in the department’s offense distribution report fell from 664 offenses in 2021 to 588 in 2022, according to city documents.

A screenshot of numbers and trends presented to Sycamore City Council during Sycamore Police Chief Jim Winters' annual report on May 1, 2023.

Winters said some of the changes have to do with how departments report crime incidents.

Since 2021, Sycamore police have reported incidents and arrest statistic to the National Incident-Based Reporting System, Winters said. The reporting system was implemented in January 2021 to improve the overall quality of crime data collected by law enforcement, according to city documents.

As other law enforcement officials have done in the years since, Winters said he believes the data reporting system changes how crime statistics can be compared with past years.

“We’re still getting used to it. That’s the new national reporting system that took effect in January of 2021, so we really only have one year to compare apples to apples. As we get further along, we’ll be able to compare those a little bit more effectively,” Winters said. “Prior to that, we used [unified crime reporting], which was in place since like 1930, so they’re kind of using a different measurement.”

The offense distribution report showed a mixed bag of year-over-year changes.

Sycamore police responded to 110 simple assault offenses in 2022, 40 offenses more than it reported in 2021, according to the National Incident-Based Reporting System, but identity theft dropped from 126 offenses in 2021 to 23 in 2022.

Sycamore Police Department crime data published as part of the city of Sycamore Police Department's 2022 annual report detail crime data broken down by offense, according to the department. (Chart provided by Sycamore Police Department)

Forty individuals were arrested by Sycamore police for simple assault in 2022, 11 more than in 2021, according to the national reporting system; however, a variety of other reasons warranting an arrest – such as murder, kidnapping, fondling, intimidation, counterfeiting, swindling, vandalism of property, disorderly conduct, liquor law violations and trespassing – stayed the same or were down from their 2021 totals.

During his report, Winters acknowledged that Sycamore police officers respond to a variety of calls, which means they have to be ready to assist in situations that may not require an arrest.

“Responding to mental illness and people in emotional crisis continues to be a big part of their job every day,” Winters said of the department’s officers. “I think right now, law enforcement officers – probably in the history of law enforcement – maybe have to have a deeper understanding of the law and also be very diverse in what they do. You have to be able to escalate and de-escalate from call to call, and sometimes on the same call.”

The Walgreens on Peace Road in Sycamore is temporarily closed Friday morning, Feb. 11, 2022, as police investigate an armed robbery, said Sycamore Police Chief Jim Winters.

Winters said that the ability to adapt to incidents in a variety of diverse ways is among the top paradigms Sycamore police officers are expected to operate with.

Winters also said the department’s officers and detectives responded effectively and quickly to what he called one of the most serious crimes committed in Sycamore during 2022: a robbery at a local business by three armed individuals, including one with an automatic weapon.

In February 2022, a group of teenagers and one adult targeted the Walgreens on Peace Road in Sycamore, held a Sycamore Walgreens at gunpoint, and tried to steal prescription drugs and money, DeKalb County court records show. No injuries were reported in the incident.

Sycamore police later arrested two minors and an 18-year-old, in addition to their alleged getaway driver, shortly after.