Multiple shootings and car robberies, a few break ins, and an attempted stabbing. When imagining a town that has had all of these events occur within the past six months, stereotypes certainly come to mind. But Lake Forest, Illinois is not one of them. As of late, however, Lake Forest has been in the news for all of these events. There has recently been an evident rise in crime in the Lake Forest and Lake Bluff area. The aforementioned crimes are happening in our town–where we work out, where we get our coffee, and where we walk around without a worry in the world on a daily basis. Yet despite these serious crimes, there is still a lack of urgency when it comes to being protective of our safety and aware of potential danger in our community,.
People sometimes forget Chicago and other communities with heightened criminality are not that far away. There were 762 homicides in Chicago last year. Some might say that Chicago is a completely different place than our small town, and it is. This is true. Regardless, Chicago is a short train ride or an hour away from Lake Forest and the surrounding area and is not out of reach for those with criminal intent. In today’s society, as unfortunate as it is to say, anything can happen. With what you see on the news, it’s hard to believe that such devastating things are occurring in our relative area. Still, many still hold the perceived invincibility that “this could never happen to me” and most people will keep that mentality until it does.
Lake Forest is often associated with being a “bubble”: this much we have heard before in a variety of different venues. We think our idyllic town is the “real world.” But that aforementioned bubble is starting to pop, shocking Lake Forest residents and surrounding towns’ citizens alike. We are used to the idea that dangerous crimes don’t happen in this town and we haven’t changed our mentality. However, there are evident changes in our community and these unfortunate incidents demand our attention. Recently, there have been five serious crimes since the beginning of the school year, including last week’s shooting behind Dunkin Donuts, the attempted stabbing behind Orangetheory, and the Halloween party that turned deadly in west Lake Forest. They have been on opposite sides of town, yes, and are unrelated, but have nonetheless been within the confines of the Lake Forest city limits. While these unfortunate incidents were not random, there is still no reason to let our guard down. Unfortunately, these types of incidents could happen to anyone, be it here or anywhere else. However, it is naive to think that It wouldn’t, or couldn’t happen to you. Even if it’s not as severe as a shooting or an attempted stabbing, your car can still be stolen, broken into, or tampered with. There have been numerous counts of stolen car keys even inside Lake Forest High School.
Lake Forest residents should start being cognizant of their surroundings and begin taking appropriate measures, especially at night and in the early morning hours. Lake Forest, like any other Chicago suburb, is not immune to crime. Although we are extremely fortunate to live in a town where people are comfortable leaving their doors and cars unlocked, it’s one turn of a key or click of a button to lock your personal belongings. It’s better to be safe than sorry. As devastating as it is that our community has been much more susceptible to crimes in the past few months, it is important to remember that we need to take measures ensure our own safety and rid ourselves of the blind naivety that we give off at times.
As fortunate as we are, it is important to ensure our safety by being safe and responsible now more than ever.