Last year was a record breaking year for the Normal Police Department which experienced more than 67,000 calls for service, about 5,000 more calls than the average number of calls per year.
Every call is logged and can range from disorderly conduct all the way to homicide. Calls are recorded by both pedestrians or witnesses that need service and officers on duty to report any kind of offense or for any kind of report. In addition to a high call rate, the number of arrests also went up.
Police Chief Rick Bleichner said that arrests stem from offenses and not individuals, meaning that one individual could get arrested on multiple charges.
Despite the call rate being at an all time high and arrests being higher than normal, it does not mean all bad news. According to Bleichner, the crime rate in Normal has gone down almost 4 percent compared to 2012 and in accordance with the five-year average on record.
The annual report also showed there were less criminal damage to property offenses, fewer burglaries and fewer DUIs.
In contrast, drug arrests are up 11 percent and consumption of alcohol by a minor cases went up 15 percent.
The extra cases are a result of extra patrols, ordinance violation sweeps and party patrols in the area after the NPD partnered up with Chestnut Health Systems and the Bloomington Normal Community Campus Committee. Both helped fund these extra patrols in Normal throughout the year.
Bleichner says that this paired with good behavior has helped the crime rates decrease.
“We certainly believe that having responsible behavior puts down crime,” Bleichner said.
There were 50 reported sex crimes in Normal last year, which is lower than 2012 but is on par with the average in the past five years.
Bleichner said that they would like to have a smaller number of these cases. Additionally, sex crimes are hard to investigate due to the amount of resources it takes to properly investigate, and victims are often reluctant to press charges.
In Bloomington, however, sexual assault cases went up by 38 percent, causing the department to add a second investigator to the division.
In total, there were 5,572 reported criminal offenses, which is a 3.8 percent decrease from the 2012 report, which stated that there were 5,785 criminal offenses.
Bleichner said that lower crime and the extra patrols were all made possible through his staff.
“I have a trememdous staff that works hard to keep us safe,” Bliechner said.
“It certainly wouldn’t have been accomplished without the whole staff.”