Violent crime in Hyde Park on the decline

“2013 saw a record low in violent crime in our area.”

By Cairo Lewis

Hyde Park witnessed a decline in violent crime rates between the summers of 2013 and 2014, according to the University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD). Although a full record of 2014 crime rates is not yet available, a statistical analysis from the summer data shows an overall decrease in violent crime in Hyde Park and may indicate a decreasing trend in crime.

While UCPD statistics for 2014 are unknown, the Chicago Police Department (CPD) listed 75 charges of violent crime in Hyde Park this past summer, down from 96 in 2013. The most commonly recorded form of violence that occurred between Labor Day and Memorial Day was battery. There were 56 charges of battery in Hyde Park this past summer, with 29 of them being domestic battery.

The trend of violent crimes in the Hyde Park/South Kenwood area has been steadily declining since 1999. Violent crimes are defined by the CPD as acts of violence involving aggravated assault and battery, criminal sexual assault, robbery, and murder. The crime rate for these particular acts of violence spiked periodically with 418 violent crimes in 1999 and 412 violent crimes in 2001 and 2005. Since 2006, these rates have steadily declined to 169 violent crimes in 2013.

Within the Hyde Park and South Kenwood area and the UCPD patrol area combined, the violent crimes reached their peak in 2009 with a total of 559 recorded crimes. The rates here have also steadily declined, as the total number of crimes in these areas combined in 2013 was 169.

UCPD Assistant Chief Gloria Graham stressed that the UCPD continues to work towards more effectively providing safety and security to Hyde Park residents. She noted the importance of the UCPD’s collaboration with the Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies and their current goals. Last year, the Commission awarded the UCPD an advanced certification. According to Graham, the UCPD is the first private university police department in the Midwest to receive this certification.

“2013 saw a record low in violent crime in our area. We are proud of that accomplishment but recognize that one violent crime is one too many. We are always evaluating our strategies and tactics to ensure they are addressing community concerns and matters involving public safety,” Graham said.

She said that she expects the final crime statistics for 2014 to be available in the coming weeks.