Carbondale police are heavily patrolling the area surrounding Elm Street after a series of break-ins happened during the summer months.
Carbondale Chief of Police Jody O’Guinn said in an e-mail, that after more than 40 property crimes and thefts were committed in the past two weeks in less than half a mile radius around Elm Street, police will implement proactive foot patrols of the area, crime mapping of the “hot spots” where crimes tend to happen most often and bicycle patrols to look after those “hot spots”.
The police also entered a collaborative effort with community organizations such as the Arbor District, a community organization built to promote neighborhood improvement.
O’Guinn said while theft is a significant problem for all communities, Carbondale is unique because it’s a college town.
“In a university community we tend to have many more suitable targets who, although they may be capable guardians, are frequently absent from their property,” O’Guinn said.
Sara Maurman, a senior from Morton studying architecture, said she has been victim in two separate incidents of theft. Maurman said she feels she underestimated the reputation of crime she had heard about Carbondale in the past.
Mauerman said at her home on Elm Street a person was found in her house taking electronics and placing them into a bag. The suspect dropped the bag and fled on foot when they realized they had been spotted.
She said the suspect broke into the house through a window and exited through the front door, but since the incident, she and her roommate have made sure all doors and windows have been locked nightly.
According to neighborhoodscout.com, a site dedicated to displaying statistics about safety and quality of towns within the United States, Carbondale is less safe than 96 percent of other towns or cities in Illinois.
With more than 1,400 property crimes reported annually in Carbondale, the chances one has of becoming the victim of theft is 1 in 18, compared to 1 in 37 in Illinois.
These statistics are based off of crimes per capita to represent an accurate percentage of crimes in each area in relation to the amount of residents.
Mauerman’s roomate, Alex Yunovich, said he will take some extra precautions from now on to ensure his safety and his property’s safety.
“It’s not like I’m scared to walk around at night or anything, but we definitely lock all the doors and the windows now and we’ve got security lights and I’ve got a baseball bat next to my bed,” said Yunovich, a junior from Chicago studying aviation management.
Lucinda Stafford, a senior at John A. Logan studying psychology, who also lives on Elm Street, has too been a victim of theft.
Stafford said in mid June she had a TV and some jewelry stolen from her bedroom while she and her parents were home. She said the robbers must have planned the incident because several people were involved and she saw the lookout in her backyard.
“It was really obvious that we were all home so it was pretty daring to come into our house,” Stafford said.
Despite the incident she said she still has full faith in Carbondale police to crack down on these perpetrators.
“When it happened they were literally at my house in two or three minutes,” Stafford said. “They’ve been really good about walking through my neighborhood on foot or on bike, which I think is better than cars, and they patrol all the time which is great.”
Stafford said during the years crime rates have fluctuated and she suspects this increase is nothing out of the ordinary, but she does think living in an apartment is a safer decision than a house.
Edward Code, community assistant for The Pointe, said in his six-to-seven months at the apartment complex there has never been a reported theft because of the tight security and their location in relevance to the popular bars in town.
“We have so many people in one area so that means we have that many more eyes to watch what’s going on at all times,” Code said.
Amber Richardson, property manager for University Village, said when the property was owned by Lewis Park there were many theft problems because of traffic from the bars, but since ownership has changed so has safety policies for the complex.
“We put fencing up between here and the bars, we have a security company that patrols the area Thursday through Sunday nights so there’s nothing suspicious that goes on, we have more lighting and we will be installing security cameras in the entrance and exits of the property to keep an eye on everything,” Richardson said.
Brian Marik, office manager of Aspen Courts, said he believes houses have a greater issue with theft because of the house parties that tend to take place on a weekly basis.
Marik said it’s not as much of a problem at apartment complexes because parties of such magnitude can’t take place in the smaller spaces.
“If you have a party and you let someone in your house that you don’t know in one of those four hundred people parties, someone sees what you have in your house and all it takes is you falling asleep,” Marik said.
O’Guinn said some of the best advice he can give citizens is to be alert, report suspicious characters in your neighborhood and keep all valuables out of sight from passers-by.