In Hyde Park in 2016, Violent Crime Drops; Burglaries Spike

Hyde Park’s total crime rate in 2016 was 16 percent lower than that of the past 10 years.

By Feng Ye

Hyde Park witnessed a slight decrease in violent crimes but an increase in property crime in 2016, according to data from the Chicago Police Department (CPD). Nearly twice as many burglaries were reported.

Hyde Park’s total crime rate in 2016 was 16 percent lower than the average crime rate of the past 10 years. However, the total crime rate increased by 15 percent from 2015. Violent crime— including homicide, sexual assault, robbery, assault, and battery— decreased by three percent from the year before. Property crime rates—including burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft, and arson—remained14 percent below the average level of the past decade, but increased by 22 percent from 2015.

The University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD) sent out 28 security alerts in 2016, which is a 100 percent increase from the 14 alerts sent out in 2015. Four of them were updates on previous alerts, regarding arrests of suspects or retractions of crimes that did not occur. There were five alerts sent out in April, four in May, three in October, and three in December.

“The decision to send alerts is made on a case-by-case basis, and the alerts are independent of overall crime rates. UCPD’s preliminary assessment is that violent crime did not increase in its patrol area in 2016,” University spokesperson Jeremy Manier said. The UCPD’s patrol area extends as far north as 37th Street and south to 64th Street.

In late July, in response to the community concerns about the neighborhood’s crime rates, President Robert Zimmer announced that the University would increase the number of UCPD officers by 28 percent throughout the UCPD patrol area.

During the year, a period of high crime rates stretched from start of summer to mid-autumn. Total crime rates were highest in July, August, October, and November, peaking in October with a total of 216 crime cases in a single month. This represents a 60 percent increase compared to the same month in 2015, when only 135 cases were recorded. Monthly average crime rates for the first half of 2016 increased by less than one percent when compared to the first half of 2015, while the monthly average crime rates for the second half of 2016 increased by 28 percent. Within 2016 alone, the second half of the year witnessed a 52 percent increase in average crime rates compared to the first half.

Several cases of break-ins and burglaries in 2016 reflected a general trend of increased burglary in Hyde Park. In September, a string of break-ins took place at the same apartment building on 54th Street. In late October, three burglars broke into a student apartment, resulting in physical confrontation. The rate for burglary in 2016 increased by 95 percent compared to 2015, while the rate for larceny, or theft, increased by 16 percent. Property crime rate was highest in August and October in 2016, with August witnessing 103 cases and October 97 cases. August 2016 saw a 250 percent increase in the rate for burglary compared to the rate at the same time the previous year; October 2016 saw a 433 increase. For the entire year of 2016, larceny still constituted 70 percent of all property crimes.

Total crime rates in Hyde Park in 2016 were lower than those in Washington Park and Woodlawn, but higher than those in Kenwood. Compared to its own annual average from 2011 to 2015, Hyde Park’s crime rates in 2016 remained at the same level. Neighboring communities, however, all experienced a decrease in total crime rates from their respective average rates from the past five years. Total crime rates for Kenwood in 2016 saw a 16 percent decrease from the average rate in the past five years, Washington Park a 19 percent decrease, and Woodlawn a 24 percent decrease.