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Staff Report
5:05 pm CDT March 27, 2019

As mayor, one of my important roles is ensuring that our residents, businesses and visitors have the facts about our community. In particular, I want to address several rumors and inaccuracies about crime and Orland Square that are damaging to the Village’s reputation and economy.

Orland Park has an excellent safety and crime record dating back decades due to the efforts of many mayors and trustees. Since I entered office, our crime has decreased by another 25 percent — to the lowest levels in 25 years. Additionally, in that time, crime at Orland Square is down over 30 percent. This is due to our great police chief, his leadership team, his officers, all of our mayors and trustees.

Orland Square is the economic engine for the entire region and generates tens of millions in property taxes and sales taxes annually for our community. Inaccurate information about the mall can be very damaging to our economic health.

First, the mall is not receiving any money in incentives. The $8 million incentives are to Von Maur department store (owned separately from the mall). These incentives are largely performance-based, and the trustees voted unanimously for them.

Second, the mall recently installed a new camera system and our police have access to it 24/7.

Third, at the end of 2018, lighting upgrades were completed in the last remaining parking lot area at Orland Square that had not been upgraded.

Finally, we have been compared to several areas without the same safety record. Orland Park’s violent crime [rate] is annually the best or second best for towns over 50,000 residents. Chicago, Aurora, Rockford and Chicago Ridge violent crime rates range from 6 to 32 times higher. Additionally, Orland Square is statistically the safest major mall in Chicagoland. The malls in the towns above, and the areas surrounding them, have between 2 and 5 times the amount of crime as Orland Square.

Our Police Department does an outstanding job and has a great relationship with the mall.  Don’t believe me, believe Von Maur, AMC, Apple, H&M and the [approximately] $100 million in private investment expected at Orland Square in the next year. I am thankful for having a successful mall. It gives us the ability to offer all we do for our community. Orland Park is a wonderful, safe community with great people and a phenomenal police department. I am proud to be from here, proud that I raised my family here and proud to be Orland Park’s mayor.

Keith Pekau

Orland Park Mayor