Despite rise in gunfire, Elgin crime rate at 50-year low

  • Elgin Police Chief Ana Lalley told the Elgin City Council Wednesday that there was a nine percent decrease in the major crimes in Elgin in 2021 and that the crime rate is at a 50-year low.

    Elgin Police Chief Ana Lalley told the Elgin City Council Wednesday that there was a nine percent decrease in the major crimes in Elgin in 2021 and that the crime rate is at a 50-year low. Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • Elgin Police Chief Ana Lalley

    Elgin Police Chief Ana Lalley

 
 
Posted1/13/2022 5:00 AM

Elgin's crime rate reached a 50-year low in 2021, police chief Ana Lalley told Elgin City Council members Wednesday.

Lalley provided the committee of the whole with an overview of the Elgin Police Department's 2021 annual crime report, which will be released to the council and the public Thursday.

 

"The combined efforts from our department along with the community working together in 2021 resulted in another year of decreased serious crimes," Lalley said.

Elgin experienced 1,293 "Group A" crimes in 2021, a nine percent decrease from the previous year. By comparison, there were 2,659 serious crimes in 1972, despite a population about half of what it is now, and 4,905 in 1989.

Group A, as defined by the FBI, consists of violent crimes like murder and aggravated assault, burglaries, thefts and sex offenses.

Lalley said the city saw decreases in burglary, theft, forgery and criminal damage, but increases in aggravated assault and weapons violations.

2021 saw Elgin reach a five-year high in shots fired incidents with 66. 20 people were struck by gunfire and four were killed as a result.

Elgin recorded six homicides in 2021, with two of the homicides being a single incident. Arrests were made in two cases, one case was closed as a murder-suicide and two cases remain under active investigation, Lalley said.

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Group B crimes, such as disorderly conduct, DUI and trespassing saw a nine percent increase overall, including a 28% increase in DUI offenses. Lalley said the increases are likely a result of lower numbers in 2020 due to the shelter-in-place order at the outset of the pandemic.

Response to resistance incidents were down 30% to 80 in 2021, with 58 instances being use of force and 22 being show of force. Lalley attributed some of the decline to their de-escalation tactics and the implementation of their Emergency Services Detail and Collaborative Crisis Services Unit, none of which were available five years ago.

"I think it's absolutely having an impact and effect in how we train, how we de-escalate, how we're more focused on integrating our communication and tactics and taking our time to resolve incidents."

Lalley said the relationship between the police and the community remains key to their approach, especially when it comes to the rise in shots fired incidents, which is a hot topic in Elgin social media circles.

"It starts with an informed community," she said "In order to have that relationship, people have to know the information. It's not fair to not provide them with that information."

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