Criminal activity has declined roughly 11 percent in downtown Naperville during the first 10 months of the year, according to statistics released Monday by Naperville police.
New enforcement strategies implemented last October and the development of a best practices manual for safety at downtown restaurants and bars contributed to the decrease, city and police officials said.
In the first 10 months of this year, police were called to downtown Naperville 397 times for crimes including criminal damage to property, disorderly conduct, fights, theft and juvenile complaints. From January to October last year, police responded to 447 offenses in those categories, authorities said.
Mayor George Pradel said cooperation among police, merchants and groups such as the Downtown Naperville Alliance, Naperville Development Partnership and the Downtown Advisory Committee to the city council has brought about "great results."
Naperville Development Partnership officials suggested the creation of a best practices manual with tips on topics such as when to make "last call" for alcohol and how to proactively identify patrons and not let in those who have caused problems in the past, said Katie Wood, executive director of the Downtown Naperville Alliance and interim chief executive of the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce.
"I think the combination of efforts between our organizations has really helped," Wood said. "No one has more at stake in making sure our downtown works and thrives than the businesses that operate here. It's just wonderful news to see the dropping rates in calls."
Pradel praised the creation of the best practices manual and said it serves as a reminder that restaurant and bar operators "have to be really careful" to follow liquor license requirements and alcohol service standards.
Other strategies police are crediting for the decrease in downtown crime include increased officer training; creation of a tactical unit to handle liquor-related issues; more inspections and enforcement by the liquor liaison detective; establishment of a weekly downtown activity report to keep officers notified of trends; use of more uniformed and plainclothes officers on weekends and holidays; and capacity checks by firefighters during busy periods.
Police Chief Robert Marshall said the tactics also resulted in a decrease in fights from 39 in the first 10 months of 2012 to 31 during the same period this year.