Crime statistics in the state of Illinois

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Although there has been an improvement of almost 30% in the rates of overall and violent crime in Illinois over the decade that started in 1999 and ended in 2009, when compared to the national incident rates, the crime scenario in the state still appears quite grim. In fact, on the property and violent crime scales, Illinois often scored higher than the national average and even when the figures were tipped in the state’s favor, the difference between the national numbers and the state averages was dismal at best.

Crime statistics comparison for the state of Illinois

Every year a total of approximately 400,000 crime incident reports are filed across the counties in the state of Illinois. Of these, more than 10% are violent crimes at over 55,000 while nearly 350,000 cases are property related felonies and misdemeanors. This puts the annual violent crime rate of the state at just above 4.2 and the property crime average at nearly 27%. While the national median for violent criminal incidents is around 4 which is lower than the Illinois rate, the state performs a little better on the property crimes index which stands at 29 on the nationwide level.

Specific crime analysis

In terms of specific criminal acts, Illinois once again fares poorly when it comes to the various categories of violent crime with annual averages of 0.06 for murder compared to the 0.05 national median and 1.56 for robbery which is higher than the national average of 1.19. However, the state did log in median figures that were lower for rape and assault at about 0.24 and about 2.5. The national figures for these crimes were just above 0.27 for rape and nearly 2.52 for assault.

An analysis of the various categories that are clubbed under the property crimes section showed that as compared to the national averages, Illinois had lower incident rates with the statewide burglary median at just shy of 6, carjacking coming in at around 2.2 and theft at around 18.7

Crime in Illinois over the years

The Illinois Uniform crime Reporting Program is a mandatory initiative by the state police that makes it obligatory for the sheriffs’ departments of all counties to submit crime date for inclusion in the central database on a monthly basis. Implemented in 1972, the data thus collected is used to offer annual crime reports to the public and various agencies that might have a vested interest in the information.

In fact, the incident report data on the official website of the Illinois Disaster Center goes back to over four decades, an analysis of the information provided shows that criminal activity in the state increased proportionately to the rise in population till 1998. In 1960, just over 230,000 criminal reports were filed across the state; however, this figure had swelled to almost 3 times to top at 700,000 in 1991 and from thereon, it held steady in the range of 600,000 to 680,000 till 1998 at which point, the crime averages started going down.

In fact, there has been a marked decrease in criminal activity across the board between 1992 and 2010.At the end of the last decade, the total criminal activity reported in the state stood just shy of 400,000 which is the same rate as in 1970, undoubtedly a feather in the cap of Illinois police.

Crime specific rates and figures

The reduction in crime has resulted in an overall decrease in all types of nefarious activities including property as well as violent crime which came down from a 6 to a 5 digit average. The most significant change was observed in the annual rate of vehicle theft which came down by almost 50% from the 56,000 plus incidents reported in 2000 to a little over 26,000 in 2010. Major movement was also seen in the averages of sexual assault and murder, both of which went down by a good 20% and more.

Given the improving crime scenario in the state of Illinois, experts are predicting that if the downward trend continues, a significant reduction in the rate of crime can be expected in the near future. As a matter of fact, many are suggesting that the annual, total crime rate may very well go down to 300,000 in the coming years.