Village Manager Larry Deetjen claims that there has been “no spike” in burglaries in Oak Lawn. Facts prove him wrong, once again. In September and October of 2014, there were 45 reported burglaries, nearly equal to the 52 burglaries reported for the first six months of the year.
By any reasonable standard, six months worth of burglaries in only two months time would be considered a spike. A sharp spike, at that. But Deetjen is known to apply less-than-reasonable standards when reality gets in his way. When he communicates his twisted logic, it’s commonly referred to as “Deetjenese.”
In this case, the Deetjenese sounded like this: “There’s no spike. When we have these events, we get notices out to the public. There’s been no increase in our crime rate since the year 2000. That’s been 14 years.”
The observant reader will note that Deetjen’s “facts” don’t directly address the issue at hand. He points out that the overall crime rate hasn’t increased since 2000. Using 2013’s overall crime rate as a basis, for 2014, if there were 900 murders in Oak Lawn, but only 10 thefts, Deetjen could make the same claim. The crime rate would have been stable.
What Deetjen failed to mention is that for the first time in at least 5 years, burglaries have exceeded the previous year’s total. In fact, 2014 is on track to be the highest burglary rate since 2009 (as far back as the Leaf’s records go). Burglaries had been on a downward trend for years prior to this administration, but have increased dramatically this year.
Many residents wonder if this “spike” has anything to do with the fact that the Bury administration slashed the police budget, and the number of sworn officers. The administration’s first annual budget and associated cuts coincides with the rise in burglaries. Deetjen and Bury have predictably denied that fact, as well. The denial came despite Village documents showing the cut in police. They made the comments despite quotes attributed directly to them. Deetjenese, it seems, is easily learned, because the Mayor is also becoming quite fluent.
Of course, Deetjen also likes to downplay the severity of burglaries in general. When discussing the 25 reported burglaries in September, Deetjen responded to another reporter, “When I heard him say that, I was shocked. What does the statistic mean? Twenty-five homes? That didn’t sound right to me. There were only 21… of which only nine of those were in the residence, 11 were in garages and one was commercial.”
It would appear that when speaking Deetjenese, it is acceptable if a burglar breaks into your car, your garage, or your business. In the language of Deetjenese, those burglaries should not count. People should feel safer, because it was only their garage that was burglarized. Never mind the fact that Deetjen was wrong in his numbers, again.
Deetjen claimed that he based his numbers on a report presented to him by Police Chief Mike Murray. When Trustee Robert Streit (District 3) asked to him provide that report, Deetjen first feigned confusion, claiming not to know what report was being referred to. Deetjenese came into play once more, when he said, “My discussion of the ‘policy issue’ in the (Trustee Information Letter) was on a macro level.”
When Streit then made a very specific request for the exact documentation which Deetjen used to come to his “macro level” conclusion, Deetjen confessed that he didn’t actually receive any reports. Deetjen then directed Chief Murray to prepare a report for inclusion in the Trustee Information Letter (TIL) for October 21. That report never made it into the TIL, nor any subsequent TIL. It has been three weeks since Streit’s request, and it has so far gone unfulfilled.
A classic example of Deetjenese deflection.
If you would like to learn how to speak Deetjenese, practice these simple acts, which Larry Deetjen has mastered.
Deflect blame to an underling.
Encourage the Bobbleheads to agree with you.
Talk around an issue, but not about an issue.
Jump on any opportunity to call the opposition a liar.
Emphasize facts that look good, but have nothing to do with the subject.
Never tell the truth.