Increase in sextortion cases, overdoses, seen in Naperville mid-year crime data

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An increase in the number of sextortion cases, as well as a rise in the number of drug overdose incidents, were just two of the key takeaways from crime and incident data released today by the Naperville Police Department when comparing reported cases for the first half of this year with last year.

But also of note: numbers for burglaries and firearm incidents were lower for this year during that same stretch.

11 sextortion cases reported in first half of 2023

The NPD noted that 11 of the 14 reported extortion/blackmail cases for the first half of 2023 were sextortion cases, looking at the data from January 1 to June 30, 2023.

In those incidents, teenage boys sent inappropriate photos of themselves to a stranger. That person would then threaten to show the photos publicly unless the victims paid them.

Incidents like these are on the increase nationwide, authorities say. The FBI has a number of tips and resources on that issue available for both teenagers and their caregivers, along with dedicated staff to assist those who have been victims of this crime.

The NPD says there were only two incidents of any type of extortion/blackmail reported in the first half of last year.

Drug overdose incidents more than double

Drug overdose incidents for the first half of 2023 are more than double what they were for that same time in 2022. This year there were 54 recorded, compared to 22 in that same period last year.

Most of the overdoses involved prescription drugs. The NPD says six of this year’s incidents were fatal. They urge residents to dispose of any unused/expired over-the-counter or prescription medication at one of the city’s drug drop boxes.

Property crimes make up majority of reported crimes this year

Property crimes such as theft, fraud, and vandalism made up the majority of reported crimes in Naperville in the first half of 2023.

65% of Naperville crime landed in that category. That’s a slight increase as compared to that same time period in 2022.

Identity theft was the most reported in that category, with 268 incidents. That’s up from 251 cases from the same time period last year.

Vandalism and criminal damages numbers were also up, with 197 for 2023 as compared to 128 that same time bracket in 2022.

Other crimes making up a large part of that list were shoplifting, with 166 cases this year as compared to 112 in the first half of 2022, and swindles or false pretense crimes at 159 in the first half of 2023 as compared to 143 for 2022.

Incidents of counterfeiting/forgery were slightly more than double for this year versus the same stretch last year, with 29 reported for 2023, compared to 14 last year.

Burglary numbers down, crime data shows

But some crimes against property numbers were lower this year as compared to last, such as burglary, with 46 cases reported in 2023 as compared to 60 in the same stretch in 2022.

15 of this year’s burglary cases were residential in nature, and the NPD says force was only used in about 13% of those.

Reported theft from motor vehicles was also lower, with police reporting that force was used in about 20% of those cases.

The NPD reminds residents that locking their belongings is one of the best ways to help deter crime. That goes for locking vehicles as well. Authorities say about two-thirds of the 23 vehicles reported stolen in the first half of 2023 were believed to be unlocked.

Firearm incidents also down

Firearm incidents have dropped slightly in the first half of this year, compared to last, the NPD says. In the first half of 2022, there were 99 illegal firearms seized, as compared to 75 in the first half of this year.

Confirmed shootings in Naperville have dropped by one, with six in 2022 compared to five in 2023.

Crimes against persons lower than in first half of 2022

Crimes against persons accounted for about a fourth of total crimes in Naperville reported during the first half of 2023. But compared to that same stretch of 2022, those numbers are lower. Most reported in the first half of this year were simple assaults, with 74% of those domestic batteries.

There have been no homicides reported for the first six months of 2023.

The crime and incident data in full can be seen on the Naperville Police Department’s website.

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