Police see decrease in traffic arrests for 2011 homecoming

By Dave Gong

DeKalb Police reported the lowest number of traffic arrests during this year’s homecoming weekend since 2006, according to statistics provided by the DeKalb Police Department.

DeKalb Police reported 71 total traffic arrests over the weekend, a decrease in six arrests from homecoming 2010. However, this year’s homecoming weekend saw an increase in non-traffic related arrests from last year.

DeKalb Police Lt. Carl Leoni said there was a total of 79 non-traffic related arrests made over the weekend. These arrests were for charges like battery, trespassing, burglary, retail theft and liquor consumption violations, Leoni said. There were 72 of these arrests during homecoming weekend 2010. This year, retail theft levels were the highest of any category with 14 total arrests.

“The [call] volume was there, but nothing really big happened,” said DeKalb Police Lt. Gary Spangler.

Leoni said police departments in Cortland and Sycamore, as well as the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office and Illinois State Police, sent officers to help with enforcement over homecoming weekend.

The city is divided into three patrol zones, Leoni said. The bulk of DeKalb Police officers are stationed in Zones 1 and 1A, which include the northwest part of DeKalb; zone 1A focuses on the area north of Lucinda Avenue and west of Normal Road, Leoni said. Zone 1A includes the area surrounding Greek Row and Eco Park, near Lundeens Discount Liqours, 1030 Arcadia Drive, and 7-Eleven, 930 N. Annie Glidden Road.

Officers from Sycamore helped patrol zone 2, which includes the area north of the railroad tracks and east of First Street. Sycamore Police also helped patrol Sycamore Road during homecoming weekend, Leoni said.

Cortland Police officers also came to DeKalb to help with enforcement during homecoming. Leoni said these officers help patrol the area south of the railroad tracks, which makes up zone 3.

Leoni said a few DeKalb Police officers were assigned to each zone to respond to calls and reports. NIU Police, the sheriff’s office, and Illinois State Police patrol around DeKalb and help with traffic enforcement.

During Sunday’s SA Senate meeting, SA Senate Speaker Austin Quick said there was an excess presence of state police during this year’s homecoming.

Leoni said the extra officers are necessary during homecoming in order to help maintain normal protection levels in all the patrol zones in DeKalb.

According to DeKalb Police statistics, there were six arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol over homecoming weekend, a decrease of two arrests from homecoming weekend 2010.

NIU Police Sgt. Alan Smith said there was a total of 32 reported crimes over homecoming weekend, the majority of which were liquor control violations from the homecoming football game. In 2010, there were 26 crimes reported to NIU Police, Smith said.

“It went fairly well this year,” Leoni said. “We’re pleased.”