Lt. Jim Clark
South District Commander
The South District is the area south of University Avenue between Prospect Avenue and Wright Street. I assumed command of the South District in May 2007. Eighteen officers and three sergeants patrol the South District. The officers in the South District responded to 15,000 calls for service this past year. The area consists of a high number of rental units, multi-family dwellings, businesses and some single-family homes. The largest demographic is the student population from the University of Illinois, and the predominant policing issues relate to high-density and young adult populations.
Although the student population is fluid, over the years their issues have remained remarkably similar. The more established neighborhoods and businesses have long-established relationships with the police department, with property crimes being the predominant issue. There is however, slow deterioration of housing stock and turnover of single family dwellings into rentals, which slowly destabilizes neighborhoods. At the same time major development projects have recently been completed at the old Burnham Hospital site at Fourth and Springfield and new high rise buildings were constructed on Green Street. The Boneyard Creek Improvement Project is also underway to address flooding issues.
Off campus the most significant issues include traffic complaints and house and vehicle burglaries. On campus, apartment and car burglaries (with lap top computers and GPS systems being the hot targets), large crowds gathering after the bars close, fights, batteries, and alcohol related issues remain persistent problems. Pedestrian safety continues to be a major concern on campus, as is the growing safety concern about items being thrown from balconies of high rise apartments. Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day, (an unsanctioned event that features alcohol consumption), attracts a large number of young people from numerous states into the campus area. This event has resulted in problems and calls for service for both the City of Champaign and the University of Illinois. City and University officials, law enforcement, student groups and business owners continue to work together to address this issue, with continued positive results.