Wednesday shooting brings gunfire incidents to five-year high in Elgin
A shooting Wednesday night in Elgin left two people injured and brought the number of gunfire incidents in the city this year to a five-year high of 66.
Elgin police said they responded at 9:24 p.m. Wednesday to a reported shooting on the 0-100 block of Hill Avenue, where they found two subjects with injuries. Both were transported to area hospitals and are in stable condition.
A Facebook post by the department stated the investigation is ongoing. But the shooting appeared to be an isolated incident with no threat to the community, officials said.
The Wednesday shooting follows another gunfire incident earlier this week that brought the 2021 total to 65, topping the 2016 number of 64.
Chief Ana Lalley said the department lists every instance of gunfire on their transparency website regardless of whether or not a person is injured or if a property is damaged. Many times the only evidence is shell casings on the scene.
"I would not feel right saying the Elgin Police Department is transparent and not releasing information like that," she said. "It's important for people to know."
Of the 66 incidents in Elgin in 2021, 53 involved no injuries. The other 13, including Wednesday night, resulted in 20 people being shot. There were 31 reports of property damage. To date, 13 arrests have been made.
"We're transparent, which means the good, the bad and the in-between," she said. "If you're trying to build trust with the community and trying to be transparent, sometimes you do have to take the criticism."
Lalley said each report is vetted regardless of injury, with officers on the scene after the call and the next day canvassing the neighborhood for information.
"The good thing about our community is that they call in shots fired," she said. "That is what we want."
Lalley said the department is committed to transparency in reporting the events, regardless of the impression it creates.
"A lot of times, we ask for our community's assistance, and they absolutely step up," she said. "We can't ask our community to help us but not keep them informed. I don't think that's a fair relationship."
Lalley said the overall crime rate in Elgin is down from last year, except for aggravated assaults and shootings. A year-end crime report will be released in the first couple of weeks of 2022.
Lalley said the increase in gunfire incidents is part of a national trend over the last couple of years. Elgin had 31 shots fired incidents in 2019.
"Overall, Elgin is a safe community," she said, "and when these incidents happen, we work very hard to make sure that we solve cases and make arrests and bring people to justice."