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home : braidwood journal : braidwood journal March 28, 2017

10/18/2016 6:48:00 PM
Police make strides in fight against heroin
Crime rates reduced over past two years
Braidwood Crime Rates
January - August

Burglaries and car burglaries

2014 - 24

2015 - 15

2016 - 6


2014 - 63

2015 - 75

2016 - 39

Marney Simon
Staff writer

For the past 18 months, the Braidwood Police Department has been on a mission to lower crime and fight the heroin epidemic in the city. On Oct. 11, Police Chief Nick Ficarello told members of the Braidwood City Council the effort is paying off.

Ficarello said the department has now placed a fourth person inside a drug detox program, as part of a new initiative to help addicts find their way to recovery. The chief said the department, along with volunteers and help from the Braidwood Area Healthy Communities Coalition, are now acting as agents to transfer people who need help to detox and recovery centers.

"Word is starting to get out that we're not there to just arrest people, but to try to help people," Ficarello said.

In August, the department launched a new program where addicts can come in for help, and officers will help place them in treatment. The department's program is open to anyone addicted to opiates, including heroin, fentanyl, Oxycodone, Percocet, Vicodin, hydrocodone or Morphine. Those needing help can request it at the Braidwood police station, and the BPD will take the necessary steps to start the recovery path.

Ficarello said since the first of the year, the department has a total of eight Narcan overdose saves. Narcan is an opiate neutralizer carried by police officers, which can be administered to people in the midst of an overdose and potentially save their lives.

The chief said that on top of the police department's eight saves, the Braidwood Fire Department has at least that many, if not more. As of this week, there have been 54 heroin-related deaths in Will County this year, including two in Braidwood.

"Even though we've made a considerable number of arrests so far this year for hard narcotics... the epidemic seems to be growing," Ficarello said. "But on a lighter note, our crime rate is going down."

That rate is falling especially in the most common crimes: Burglaries, car burglaries, and theft.

Ficarello said the department has started a comparison of crime rates over the same period of times between 2014 and 2016.

When it comes to the combination of burglaries and car burglaries (items stolen from inside a vehicle), Ficarello said there were 24 in the first eight months of 2014, and only 15 in the first eight months of 2015.

"Then from 2015 to 2016, it went from 15 down to six," Ficarello said. "Overall since 2014, it's been a 75 percent decrease in car burglaries and burglaries in the first eight months [of the year]."

As far as thefts, Ficarello said there were 63 thefts in the first eight months of 2014. That jumped to 75 in 2015, but fell dramatically the first eight months of this year, to just 39.

"So overall from 2014 to 2016, the crime rate on thefts has dropped 38 percent," Ficarello said. "I'm just comparing the first eight months of those years to the first eight months of [this] year, because statistically we have to compare apples to apples. At the end of the year, we'll be able to have yearly amounts."

Ficarello also noted that over the past year, there has been an 88 percent increase in heroin seized within the city limits.

"The guys are working hard, it's good teamwork, everyone is working together," Ficarello said.

City officials heaped praise on the department for the hard work.

"Our police department is doing an outstanding job," said Mayor Jim Vehrs. "We stand behind them 100 percent, and it's a great team to have when you drive down the streets here, knowing that our town is safe."

The Braidwood Police Department will participate in a drug disposal program on Oct. 22, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Residents can turn in unused or expired medicine for proper disposal at the department at 141 W. Main Street. The event is part of a national drug take-back program sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

From Sept. 24 through Oct. 10, the Braidwood police department responded to 202 calls for service, resulting in 38 arrests, 33 warnings, nine citations, and 37 P-tickets.

Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Article comment by: MM

Stop the drug war with objective of shutting down the black market. The drug war has failed. The drug war is driving the problems, not fixing them. Decriminalization/legalization is necessary, it needs to be backed up with public health announcements explaining exactly why it is needed. Its not in any way condoning the abuse of addictors, it is done bc the alternative, the drug war, has made things infinitely worse on almost every level, to include making drugs abundantly available to any & all that wants them.
We need to pull LE out of the drug biz - that will free up a lot of resources currently chasing their collective tails. When the laws create more harm and cause more damage than they prevent, its time to change the laws. The $1 TRILLION so-called war on drugs is a massive big government failure - on nearly every single level. Its way past time to put the cartels & black market drug dealers out of business. Mass incarceration has failed. We cant even keep drugs out of a contained & controlled environment like prison.
We need the science of addiction causation to guide prevention, treatment, recovery & public policies. Otherwise, things will inexorably just continue to worsen & no progress will be made. Addiction causation research has continued to show that some people (suffering with addiction) have a "hypo-active endogenous opioid/reward system." This is the (real) brain disease, making addiction a symptom, not a disease itself. One disease, one pathology. Policy must be made reflecting addiction(s) as a health issue.
The war on drugs is an apotheosis of the largest & longest war failure in history. It actually exposes our children to more harm & risk and does not protect them whatsoever. In all actuality, the war on drugs is nothing more than an international projection of a domestic psychosis. It is not the "great child protection act," its actually the complete opposite.
The lesson is clear: Drug laws do not stop people from harming themselves, but they do cause addicts to commit crimes and harm others. We need a new approach that decriminalizes the disease. We must protect society from the collateral damage of addiction and stop waging war on ourselves. We need common sense harm reduction approaches desperately. MAT (medication assisted treatment) and HAT (heroin assisted treatment) must be available options. Of course, MJ should not be a sched drug at all.
Every human being is precious, worthy of love and belonging, and deserves opportunities to fulfill his or her potential regardless of past trauma, mental and emotional anguish, addictive behaviors or mistakes made.

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