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Hyde Park saw a slight increase in the overall crime rate and a larger increase in violent crime in 2015, according to data from the Chicago Police Department (CPD).
The total crime rate remained 32 percent below the average rate of the last 10 years in Hyde Park. However, compared to 2014, total crime rates increased by six percent in Hyde Park in 2015. Violent crimes, including homicide, sexual assault, robbery, assault and battery, were 22 percent below the average of the past decade, but increased by 18 percent from 2014. The rate for property crimes, which are burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft, and arson, decreased by two percent.
The University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD) sent out 14 security alerts in 2015, four more than in 2014, and six more than the average from 2010 to 2014. Two successive shootings in Hyde Park within 10 days in April accounted in part for a slight crime increase in the first four months of 2015. The violent crime rate and crime rate in general continued climbing in the second half of the year. In contrast to the average 108 crimes per month for the first five months, an average of 137 crimes happened per month for the rest of the year. According to CPD data from the past 15 years, rates of crime generally increase in the summer months. There were four security alerts sent out in September alone. September also had the second highest rates of crime in 2015. The rate of violent crime peaked in June with 18 cases in one month.
Crime rates in Hyde Park remained lower than in Washington Park and Woodlawn, but higher than in Kenwood. In 2015, Hyde Park had 45 percent fewer crimes than Washington Park, 59 percent fewer than Woodlawn, and 12 percent more than Kenwood. For the past five years, the average crime rate of Hyde Park was two percent higher than that of Kenwood. In 2015, compared to the six percent increase in total crime rate from 2014 in Hyde Park, those in neighboring communities all decreased—by seven percent in Washington Park, 12 percent in Woodlawn and 10 percent in Kenwood. There was only a two percent increase in violent crime in Woodlawn.
In 2015, UCPD intended to improve transparency by launching a new website that tracks instances of crime. The website includes daily updated detailed information of traffic stops and field contacts. Crime data provided by UCPD, however, is not complete. “UCPD is not the primary law enforcement agency of the extended boundary communities, CPD is. UCPD serves in a supporting role to CPD. So in many instances, a person may call CPD (911) as opposed to UCPD,” University spokesperson Marielle Sainvilus said.
Sainvilus did not directly respond to questions about the increase in crime rates in Hyde Park in 2015. “UCPD is actively working with community leaders and elected officials on the safety and security of the communities they serve,” Sainvilus said.