Hoffman Estates is a northwest suburb of Chicago, Illinois. The area is located directly to the east of Elgin and south of Dundee and Inverness. As of the 2010 Census, the area’s population was 51,895. This represents a growth rate of 4.8 percent over the 2000 Census. As of 2015, the population was estimated to be 52,138, which represents a drastically slowed growth rate of only 0.5 percent. The majority of the suburb’s population consists of Caucasians and married couples, with a relatively young average age of thirty-four. Hoffman Estates is somewhat unique in that it is served by seven different school districts. The area also consists of seven different zip codes, including 60010, 60067, 60169, 60173, 60192, 60194, and 60195. Several major corporations maintain a presence in Hoffman Estates, including Sears Holding Corporation, AT&T, and two major sports leagues.
Crime rates, in general, are currently lower than both the national and Illinois state averages. A person’s chances of being a crime victim are 1 in 121 in the area, compared to 1 in 50 in the state. Violent crime rates, which include murder, rape, robbery, and assault, all fall below national averages. The robbery rate per 1,000 people is 0.19 in the city, compared to the 1.02 national average. In the area, a person has a 1 in 1,337 chance of becoming a victim of a violent crime in comparison to 1 in 261 in the state of Illinois. However, the city gets a C rating in terms of overall safety. The city is safer than seventy-four percent of U.S. cities, but still has room for improvement.
Hoffman Estates has the third highest crime rates when compared to its neighboring cities. Nearby Schaumburg, Streamwood, and Hanover Park have higher rates. Yet, South Barrington, Inverness, Rolling Meadows, Palatine, and Roselle all have much lower rates. The area previously had a murder rate in 2009 that was higher than the national average. In recent years, the area has also struggled with a high number of rape incidents. The property crime rate in 2014 was 82.8 per 100,000 people, with robberies at 25 per 100,000 people, burglaries at 149 per 100,000, and thefts at 872 per 100,000. In addition, reported auto thefts were at 42 per 100,000.
The city’s police department is located at 411 W. Higgans Road, Hoffman Estates, IL 60169. The department’s phone number is 847-781-2800. The police department does operate a program called Problem Oriented Policing or POP. Problem Oriented Policing began in 1991 and consists of officers being assigned to specific areas for a reasonable length of time. The idea is to allow officers the time to become familiar with specific neighborhoods and the crime-related problems that occur in those neighborhoods. The goal of the program is prevention, but the program has been watered down recently. Police officers are now encouraged to shift the responsibility to social services and grassroots organizations, such as Neighborhood Watch.
Compared to Illinois State averages, the amount of police officers per 1,000 residents is significant lower. The state average was 2.76 compared to Hoffman Estates’ average of 1.76. This is a historical trend that is likely caused by a lack of funding, disinterest, and organizational culture problems. The police department states that it keeps track of calls and summarizes it by quarter to help identify problem areas. In 2014, seventy-five percent of the cities reported crimes were theft-related. The police department’s tips for theft prevention include installing an alarm system and making it visible that one is installed.
In the Chicago area, including its suburbs, there are more than forty identifiable gangs. Approximately 30,000 members belong to one or more of these street gangs. One of the school districts serving Hoffman Estates has reported evidence of gang activity in the area. In fact, Cook County which the city belongs to has been identified by the United States government as an area with a gang problem. Gangs and their illegal activities have been present for more than ten years. In addition, the greater Chicago area is known to be home to significant Italian mafia activity. Hoffman Estates is known to be home to the following gangs: Gangster Disciples, Black P. Stones, Latin Counts, Latin Kings, La Raza, Gangster Two Six, Vice Lords, Spanish Cobras, and Surenos 13.
The average home price in the area is $241,250 and the average monthly rent is $1,750. The average home price represents an increase of six percent over the previous year, while the average monthly rent has remained stagnant. Neighboring suburbs have experienced drops in average home prices, ranging between one and nineteen percent. Although the cost of living in the city is high, it also has a high number of college graduates and an above average annual household income. This may help explain some of the reason for the area’s ability to shelter itself from neighboring trends.
Overall, Hoffman Estates appears to be a safe, youthful, educated area. Although the area is situated in a highly-populated metro area known for its history of violent crime and police corruption, it is probably one of the metro area’s safer places to live. Yet, this should not be taken as a license to not be vigilant against the potential for crime. Thefts and burglaries remain the two top reported crimes in the area. With confirmed gang activity and presence, any home and resident is at risk of becoming a victim.