Thefts dominate Niles crime
Crime in Niles
Updated: May 6, 2013 2:10AM
Niles is booming with a large number of retail stores, but the downside of that is that retail theft is the top crime in the village.
Showing an increase, in 2011, there were a total of 728 offenses, with 597 of those being thefts. In 2012, there were 774 total offenses and 645 thefts. In 2011, there were 245 arrests and 223 of those were for thefts and 2012 saw 249 arrests and 232 thefts.
“We fluctuate on a five percent increase or decrease,” said Niles Police Chief Dean Strzelecki, about the crime rate in Niles over the past five years. “Our major crime is shoplifting due to the large amount of retail in Niles.”
Strzelecki said the number of robberies is up from nine robberies in 2011 to 13 robberies in 2012.
“We work pretty closely with the loss prevention agencies,” said Niles Police Sgt. Robert Tornabene.
Tornabene said that the police also meet with the security department at Golf Mill Shopping Center every month.
“We go over things they can do to prevent thefts and retail thefts,” said Tornabene.
Tornabene said they try to get any information on theft suspects and new methods of committing thefts out to the retail community as soon as possible.
“We talk to residents and businesses,” said Strzelecki. He said the police department informs the business community and residents about how to burglar-proof their homes and businesses.
Another crime that has become increasingly prevalent over the past few years is financial scams. Many of the victims in these types of scams are senior citizens.
“We’re very active in trying to prevent that by education and we do community outreach,” said Tornabene.
Tornabene said they talk to various groups, such as the Polish Women’s Association and seniors at local nursing homes about ways to avoid becoming victims of various financial scams.
One of the most recent scams is called the Green Dot scam, where the victim is contacted over the phone and told they won a prize, like a large amount of cash or a vehicle. The caller then tells the person to go to a local retailer, buy a pre-paid credit card loaded with as much as $1,000. The scam artist then tells the victim to provide them with the ID number of the card.
Tornabene said the department also holds beat meetings in certain neighborhoods. Residents can discuss any concerns that they have and officers provide residents with crime prevention tips. For example, around the holiday season, officers talk about how to avoid becoming victims of theft and car burglaries near shopping malls.
The crime statistics also reveal that there were 78 burglary offenses and 13 aggravated battery offenses, compared to 66 burglary offenses and eight aggravated battery offenses in 2012.
As for drug arrests, in 2011 there were 58 drug arrests and in 2012 there were 89 drug arrests in Niles.
“We fluctuate with a five percent increase or decrease,” shared Strzelecki, about the crime statistics for the village from year to year.