DeKalb’s Police Chief outlines strategy to combat crime

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Although crime rates have increased in DeKalb, Police Chief Gene Lowery reviewed in February a number of initiatives that emphasize the City’s commitment to turning the trend around. Lowery presented the 2016 Police Department Annual Report at the City Council meeting on February 27, which indicated an increase in both Part I and Part II crimes.

“Although the increase in crime rate is extremely concerning, we are launching a number of proactive measures to combat this increase,” Lowery said after the meeting.

The Police Department is diligently working to implement and sustain a variety of initiatives through the 20/20 Vision for the Future Plan: Phase Two.

“Phase Two is meant to provide a follow-up to the items we worked on in Phase One,” said Deputy Police Chief John Petragallo. “We saw what worked during Phase One and will implement more community based, proactive measures to address specific crime concerns.”

Phase Two will introduce 20 policing strategies within 20 months. Programs in the 20/20 vision include, but are not limited to, the expansion of Camp Power and Power up for less fortunate children, Cyber Bullying and Social Media Awareness, and Project HOPE: Heroin Outreach, Prevention, and Education.

Proactive policing measures will also be implemented on a variety of issues including, but not limited to, a Safe Streets Program to reduce gang crime and gun violence, Domestic Violence Lethality Assessment and Victim Advocacy initiative, Juvenile Delinquency Risk Reduction Program and a Neighborhood Policing Plan with “town hall” meetings to obtain vital input from our community.

Chief Lowery also initiated a summit with Police Chiefs from other university communities in Illinois to identify factors that may be causing the sudden change in crime and what the communities could do to collaboratively to address it.

“We wanted to gain an understanding of what challenges our comparable communities are facing,” Lowery said. “It was incredibly beneficial, we had common concerns and it helped to establish our focus moving forward.”

The communities collectively identified similar challenges including an uncertain economy, poverty, the lack of a state budget, defunding of critical human services, declining enrollment at universities, and a significant surplus of vacant rental properties.

“Our situation as a college town is incredibly unique,” Lowery said. “We must be conscious and aware of all the factors at play in DeKalb.”

More information on crime statistics and efforts by the DeKalb Police Department in address increasing crime increases can be found in the Department’s 2016 Annual Report here.

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