That was one of the stats released in the village’s 2012 report. After zero arrests for possession of methamphetamine in 2011, the department was busier last year. One of the lab discoveries included children at the residence, resulting in a child-endangerment charge.
South Jacksonville Police Chief Richard Evans says meth was a problem in 2012, but says his officers took a proactive approach.
“First of all, we educated our officers in what to look for. We started working with the Illinois State Police meth response team. One of the cases that we had for a meth lab, we had worked on this particular investigation for six months before we were able to bust the meth lab, but that took coordination with the state police,” Evans says.
“They were excellent to work with, especially the meth response team. And when we got a break in the case, not only did we get multiple meth labs here in South Jacksonville, but when they left here, they went to another jurisdiction and found additional labs from information we obtained.”
Evans says part of the officer education is from a 2011 video the department produced. It has since been distributed to other law enforcement agencies in West Central Illinois.
Evans thinks more public awareness and officer training could bring more investigations in 2013.
“We train people who are in homes all the time for law enforcement purposes to help us, and I think the more people we train, the more people that know what they’re looking at,” he says. “I think you’re going to see more reports of methamphetamine products or the aftermath of labs in the area.”
Drug-wise, other arrests included eight cannabis arrests and one for possession of a controlled substance.
There were 87 reportable crimes, including theft. Between burglaries and several theft categories, there were 19 cases, down four from 2011. Four automobiles were burglarized.
Evans says part of the problem is dealing with metal thieves.
“They’re actually stealing air conditioners to get the metal out of it. The laws had to get tougher in that,” he says.
“But we saw a lot of that this year- just scrap metal wiring and stuff being taken from places. But that’s the economy: people are going around picking that up, taking it in, turning it in for scrap to get money for it. Even in aluminum- people actually had their down spouts taken from the sides of their houses,” adds Evans.
Evans says many of the burglaries are occurring during the daytime and urges residents to continue reporting suspicious activity. There was one robbery case in 2012, as was the case in 2011.
There was one aggravated battery case last year when there were none in 2011. There was one child pornography possession, one criminal sexual assault and one assault case, the same as the previous year in each instance.
DUI arrests went down from thirteen to nine.
Evans believes crime has the potential to go up in South Jacksonville in 2013.
“The village is growing. We have new businesses locating here that bring traffic, that bring people, and unfortunately, sometimes crime goes up because you’re bring more people into the community,” Evans states. “We’re going to do some traffic highway work near I-72 on South Main Street in the near future here, so we’re going to have some more truck traffic, car traffic. Might see accidents rise there a little bit.”
There were no injuries among the 42 accidents reported. That was six fewer than 2011.
A total of 772 arrests were made, which is 13 percent less than the previous year. Calls were up eight percent, with the police department receiving a total of 10,146. The clearance rate for reported crimes was 57.5 percent.