According to updated numbers, Marion has a crime rate of 2,662 per 100,000 people, which is lower than some nearby towns.
In The Southern Illinoisan’s story this past Sunday titled “Southern Illinois crime rates not clear cut,” Marion’s data was not included, because of the lack of accurate information.
Marion Police Dawn Tondini said the numbers were available, but it just took looking in the right spot for her department. She said the department recently upgraded to a new computer system that compiles all the crime data when an officer makes a report.
The Uniform Crime Report published by the Illinois State Police and FBI reported that Marion had 5 theft reports and zero aggravated batteries in 2014.
“I wish,” Tondini responded when she looked at the published reports.
She said when an officer fills out a report, it goes into the newer system, implemented in April 2015, and when the officer inputs the charge, the system automatically attaches the UCR code corresponding with that crime.
However, it doesn’t put it a neat place for those in the records department to access.
“It is just looking in the right spot for the numbers,” she said.
As for prior numbers that are reflected in previous publications, Tondini said she will be contacting authorities in Springfield about if those can be updated.
As for 2015 numbers, Tondini was able to find UCR crime numbers which represent eight crimes -- homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated battery, burglary, theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson.
The newspaper also obtained 2015 UCR numbers from Herrin and Carbondale.
In Marion, Tondini reported 465 crimes in 2015 – 41 crimes of violent nature. She said there was one murder, five rapes, five robberies and 30 aggravated batteries. She isn’t sure of those were the numbers reported to the UCR for its upcoming publication this summer.
As for property-based crimes, Marion reported 48 burglaries, 364 thefts, nine motor vehicle thefts, and three arson crimes.
Based on 2014’s population for Marion, this would give the city a crime rate of 2,662 per 100,000 people.
In Carbondale, Police Chief Jeff Grubbs provided crime stats for 2015. He reported 947 total crimes – 102 violent – one homicide, 26 rapes, 30 robberies and 45 aggravated assaults.
Carbondale’s property-based crimes come in at 206 burglaries, 601 thefts, 33 motor vehicle thefts, and five arson crimes.
Grubbs said this is a 20-year low for crime in Carbondale.
Using 2014’s population for Carbondale, 2015 crime numbers would give the city a crime rate of 3,593 per 100,000 people.
The UCR report says a large transient population increases the potential for criminal behavior within a small jurisdiction. The crime rate does not compensate for the population that may be in a community for education, entertainment, work, healthcare or visiting.
In Herrin, 2015 UCR reports show that 391 crimes occurred – 29 violent. Those violent crimes were one homicide, seven rapes, five robberies and 16 aggravated batteries. Property-based crimes in Herrin show 91 burglaries, 252 thefts, and 19 motor vehicle thefts in 2015. Herrin reported no arson crimes in 2015.
The 2014 population for Herrin coupled with 2015’s crime number would produce a crime rate of 3,027 per 100,000 people.
Tondini says her city’s numbers are still low because of the number of officers it has on the streets.
“We have almost more traffic stops and pedestrian checks than we do calls anymore,” she said.
She said all squad cars in Marion have a new computer installed. That way, she said, officers can stay out and don’t have to come into the station to file a report and they stay in the public’s sight.
Tondini, a 20-year plus veteran, said it has felt like the crime rate has decreased in Marion recently.
“We have a proactive bunch of guys,” she said. “They guys loves their jobs and love looking for the bad guys and drugs.”
At the April 11 Marion City Council meeting, the city approved spending $137,286 to replace 29 in-car cameras for police vehicles.