Earlier this month, the Illinois State Police launched their new database, The Illinois Uniform Crime Report (I-UCR), tracking overall offenses and crime rates among all Illinois counties.
Despite a recent trend of record high crime rates throughout the state and country since 2020, Rock Island County reported a 7.1% drop in overall crime from 2022 to 2023 year to date.
Neighboring counties have reported increases during this time, ranging from 29% up to 721%, according to a Monday press release from Rock Island County State’s Attorney Dora Villareal.
Out of the 102 Illinois counties that reported data, only 16 were listed with decreasing rates, including Rock Island County. Violent crimes and crimes against persons were reported to have dropped by 5.59% in Rock Island County, while these same offenses increased overall in Illinois by 52%, Villareal said.
The 2020 pandemic caused significant disruption and long-lasting effects throughout the criminal justice system, including backlogs of cases and trials in courtrooms. By the summer of 2021, the State’s Attorney’s Office reported an estimated 5,000 cases more than in pre-pandemic 2019.
This was mostly due to courtroom shutdowns and the inability to conduct trials, while maintaining only daily essential court hearings with limited capacity, Villareal said.
By the end of June 2023, her office noted a decrease in open and pending cases. Court records currently reflect numbers much closer to late 2019 and early 2020, she said. During the past two years, the State’s Attorney’s Office has successfully closed 17 murder or attempted murder cases.
“This incredible progress is attributed to the hard work and dedication of our team of prosecutors, staff, local law enforcement agencies, courtroom clerks and judges,” Villareal said.
“Over the past two years, there has been an aggressive effort to conduct numerous jury and bench trials, targeting our oldest and most serious cases. These many efforts include all of our partners working together to problem solve, modernize and tackie the many obstacles and changes thrown at us since March of 2020,” she said.
“The funding and resources provided to us by our County Board and other city officials has made an immense difference in our ability to continue this work,” Villareal said.
“Although we still have tremendous work to do, including older cases that remain open and the substantial changes coming in September with the new Safe-T Act going into effect, we remain optimistic about our success in tackling these hurdles by utilizing this same collaboration and support,” she said.
The state database shows Rock Island County still with one of the highest crime rates in Illinois in 2022 and 2023 so far. The Illinois Uniform Crime Report (which is updated in real time) showed the county with 34.46 crimes per 1,000 population last year, declining this year to 32.01 per 1,000 people – which is higher than Cook County (home of Chicago), which has dropped from 32.44 in 2022 to 22.15 this year (a decrease of over 32%).
Villareal said Monday she doesn’t dispute there is much room for improvement, but Rock Island County crime is dropping overall after a number of years of rising. See county-by-county data HERE.