Aurora has its first homicide-free year since 1946

January 2, 2013 3:19:01 PM PST
The City of Aurora has a crime statistic that most cities cannot claim.

The Chicago suburb had its first homicide-free year since 1946.

The last call for a homicide was in December 2011 when Renee Perry was stabbed to death.

Illinois' second largest city ended the year without one single murder.

"This accomplishment demonstrates again that Aurora is among the safest large and diverse communities across the nation," Mayor Tom Weisner said in a press release. "The combination of a world-class police force working with community groups, city leaders and law enforcement agencies has resulted in reducing crime to record-lows."

Police chief Greg Thomas credited luck and a lot of hard work.

"I don't think there is one magic pill or magic strategy, it is a combination of strategies," he said.

Those strategies were put in place following a five year stretch in the 1990's when Aurora experienced more than 20 murders a year, according to Thomas.

"The largest shares of those murders where gang/drug related murders," he said.

Police sought the help of federal agents to conduct big sweeps to get gang members off the streets. That, combined with neighborhood and school programs, helped prevent kids from joining gangs.

Thomas said the police's "Knock and Talk" program, where officers go door to door to talk with parents of gang members, is a success. Aurora East High School's ROTC program and churches have been a help too, he said.