Safety: In Numbers

March 2024 View more

Recent DuPage crime statistics reveal both encouraging developments and troubling trends

Crime scene tape

When it comes to public perceptions about safety, Bob Berlin knows well the significant divide that can exist between facts and feelings. While the veteran DuPage County state’s attorney certainly understands that many citizens hear about robberies and carjackings and reflexively assume that crime is out of control throughout the area, the numbers he sees for the county tell a different—and, in many cases, a more encouraging—story.

To wit, violent crime—specifically armed robberies and carjackings—is down over the past three years in DuPage. “Those crimes have the biggest impact on the community,” Berlin says. “And the fact that we’ve been able to reduce them at a time when Chicago has seen a 25 percent increase is extremely significant.”

Nevertheless, Berlin and his colleagues continue to grapple with several less optimistic trends as well, including a massive increase in the number of felons carrying guns and an overall rise in the number of felonies committed in the county (see sidebar, below), despite the drop in violent crime.

Bob Berlin
“What we’re doing in terms of staffing up and increasing our budget should let the public know how seriously we take public safety.” —DuPage County state’s attorney Bob Berlin

As 2024 progresses, violent crime and domestic violence will remain top priorities for Berlin’s office, both in terms of working to reduce the number of cases as well as trying to prevent these kinds of incidents from occurring in the first place. In support of the latter effort, Berlin continues to be actively involved in a statewide group of prosecutors, police chiefs, and sheriffs called Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, which advocates for funding for preschool and after-school programs that have been proven to help reduce crime in the long run.

Also on the radar is the proliferation of fentanyl, which continues to be a big problem in the county. Berlin and his office are working to bring down overdose incidents with a two-pronged approach that includes preventative education and greater accountability for drug dealers in overdose deaths. “I think this is the right approach, but it just takes more time than I’d like to see,” he explains. “I always make the comparison to drunk driving, which was an almost 30-year campaign that is now finally seeing the fruits of all that hard work. I think we’ll get there too, so we’re going to keep at it.”

From violent crime to drug offenses and everything in between, in light of both the good and the bad emerging from the recent numbers, Berlin feels his office is on the right track when it comes to continuing to provide the citizens of DuPage County with a greater sense of safety and security. “I believe we have a handle on the increase in crime and I believe that what we’re doing in terms of staffing up and increasing our budget should let the public know how seriously we take public safety,” he says. “I’m proud of the great criminal justice reputation we have in this state, and my job is to maintain that reputation and to grow it.”

Crime Report

A sampling of DuPage County crime statistics (charged crimes)

The Good: Violent crime is trending downward.

• First-degree murders were down 45 percent from 2022 to 2023.
• Robberies and aggravated robberies are down 30 percent since 2019.
• Carjackings were down 67 percent from 2022 to 2023 and down 44 percent since 2020.
• Armed robberies are down 52 percent since 2020.

The Bad: Felonies on the whole are on the rise.

• Felonies jumped from 2,309 in 2021 to 2,782 in 2022 to 2,956 in 2023.
• Cases of unlawful use of a weapon by a felon are up almost 134 percent since 2019 (but were down 21 percent from 2022 to 2023).
• More than 60 percent of felonies in 2022 were committed by out-of-area offenders.
• Cases of fleeing or eluding law enforcement and aggravated fleeing or eluding were up 82 percent in 2023.

Source: DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office


Photos: DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office (Berlin); iStock