Fewer Crimes in Rock Island

February  04, 2014

      Crime continued to fall in Rock Island last year. That was the report Monday night to the city council by Police Chief, Jeff VenHuizen.

      Each year, crimes in the city are tracked in 8 categories - murder, criminal sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. And there were 1,224 in all last year - a drop of 137, or 10 per cent, from the previous year. Serious crime dropped 3 per cent, including murder, sexual assault, and aggravated assault. 

      VenHuizen says one reason for the improvement is Rock Island officers are more "engaged in the community."

      "There are social programs the police department is involved in with the youth. We're also involved with programs with our block clubs. I think that has a definite impact on crime."

      He also thinks demographics are playing a role - Americans are getting older. 

      "The trend across the US right now is the youth population is declining. And we know that youth are the most susceptible to being victims of violent crime and also being offenders."

      Some credit should also go to his department's "crime supression unit" and the patrol unit that focuses on the downtown district. Chief VenHuizen says the overall number of crimes has been dropping for the past 20 years - in Rock Island and across the country.