Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis today reported a "historic decline in overall crime" since 2000, including a significant drop in both violent and property crime incidents in 2009 over the previous year. However, with a total of 458 murders for 2009 vs. New York City's 2009 total of 461, Chicago is still a more dangerous place to live than America's largest city.
At the same time, the Lake County (IL) Crime Stoppers organization reported that it awarded more cash in 2009 than ever before for tips that led to arrests; a total of $50,575 compared to $35,360 the previous year.
Across the mostly suburban county, stolen property valued at $716,318.30 was recovered by law enforcement agencies, more than double the total for 2008. Considering that on average, only about 25% of stolen property is ever recovered (FBI, 2008), the recovered property likely represents only a small fraction of actual losses, many of which are never reported to police or insurance companies.
What does it all mean? Crime, like the weather, is subject to cycles and shifts, and when it's getting better in one area, conditions can worsen in another. But no matter where you live, city or suburbs, crime - like occasional bouts of foul weather - is an inevitable aspect of everyday life. You can choose to protect yourself by taking appropriate preventative measures, or take a chance on suffering the consequences of remaining unprepared.