Joliet Police To Conduct Seatbelt Safety Zones

Joliet Police Chief Brian Benton announced today that the Joliet Police Department, in partnership with the Illinois Department of Transportation, will participate in a statewide effort to increase seatbelt usage and reduce the number of impaired drivers over the Memorial Day holiday.

From May 15 through May 30, 2017, special enforcement efforts will include saturation patrols, seatbelt enforcement zones, and a roadside safety checkpoint throughout the City. Officers assigned to these details will be checking for occupant and child restraint violations, cell phone usage violations, and other violations of the Illinois Vehicle Code.

According to Chief Benton, “Our primary goal will be to increase compliance with existing traffic laws to ensure safer roadways throughout the City of Joliet.”

Drivers and passengers are encouraged to always wear a seatbelt, to never use an electronic communication device while driving, and never drink and drive.

These campaigns are possible through traffic safety enforcement grants from the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Distracted Driving Is Dangerous Driving

When we’re driving, distractions are a constant temptation. Other passengers in the car, billboard signs flashing the latest ads, and vehicle features making our journey more comfortable are just a few examples of distractions that can take our attention off the road.

We’re also busier than ever. Our days are spent trying to get more accomplished in less time. It’s estimated that people spend an average of one hour and 15 minutes in their vehicles every day. This means that longer commutes, an increase in heavy traffic, and demanding home and work schedules make in-vehicle technologies more alluring because they let us multi-task and get more done. It also means that other activities like talking with family and friends or eating dinner may take place while driving. These distractions, often deadly, stop us from giving our full attention to the most important thing we are doing while going from Point A to Point B – getting there!

It’s all in your head… and hands… and eyes…

While driving, your mind, hands, and eyes are all working together to get to your destination. Your mind decides where you’re going, your hands navigate the steering wheel, and your eyes ensure your car and pathway are safe. When any one of these is busy with other diversions, the risk of crashing increases.

Teens are especially at risk

Ask any teenager what tops their list of things that matter most and many will claim it’s their friends. Staying “in the know” within their social network and being accepted ranks high among teenagers. But too often this desire to be with friends leads to dangerous habits when driving.

Nearly nine in 10 teenage drivers admit they have engaged in distracted driving behaviors such as texting or talking on a cell phone. But research also tells us that teens already know it’s dangerous. It’s important for teens to start listening to what they know is right and to stay fully focused on driving!

Can I just talk hands-free?

Many people think talking on a hands-free cell phone while driving is safer than having that same conversation on a handheld device. Even if you drive with both hands on the wheel while talking on the phone, you’re still putting yourself and others in danger. When you talk on the phone, your mind is engaged in that conversation. It’s estimated that using a cell phone while driving (whether handheld or hands-free) raises the chance of crashing by four times.

The Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, Partnering with AAA, is Coordinating the First Ever Illinois Distracted Driving Awareness Week with State and Local Agencies

In support of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police (ILACP) asked the Governor of the State of Illinois to declare April 24th through 28th  as Illinois Distracted Driving Awareness Week in an effort to bring attention to the dangers and consequences associated with driving distracted.  Governor Rauner issued the proclamation and both houses passed resolutions identifying April 24th through the 28th as Illinois Distracted Driving Awareness Week.

The ILACP, in partnership with AAA, and supported by the Illinois State Police, SafetyServe.com, the National Safety Council, the Illinois Insurance Association, almost 300 law enforcement/fire agencies and supporters from the private sector throughout Illinois, will work together during this week to educate motorists on all aspects of distracted driving.  This campaign will also include the enforcement of applicable State distracted driving laws.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):

3,477 people were killed and an estimated 391,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2015. That is a 9-percent increase in fatalities as compared to the previous year.

10 percent of fatal crashes, 15 percent of injury crashes, and 14 percent of all police reported motor vehicle crashes in 2015 were reported as distraction affected crashes.

Texting while driving has become an especially problematic trend among millennials. Young drivers, 16 to 24 years old, have been observed using handheld electronic devices while driving at higher rates than older drivers since 2007.

It’s time to drop the double standard on distracted driving – the dangers are real.  According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety:

In analyzing 2009-2012 data, that even while more than 8 in 10 drivers believed it completely unacceptable for a motorist to text or e-mail behind the wheel, more than a third of those same respondents admitted to reading text messages while driving.

Just as disturbing, even as fatalities go up, fewer drivers seem concerned about texting while driving. According to Foundation’s 2015 Traffic Safety Culture Index, significantly fewer motorists (77%) believed texting while driving is a problem, down from 96 percent in 2013, a 19-point drop in just two years.

Texting while driving is more than just personally risky. When you text and drive, you become a danger to everyone around you.

SafetyServe.com is offering a short Distracted Driving Online Course, at no cost, during Illinois Distracted Driving Awareness Week to those who visit the ILACP Traffic Safety Website, www.iddaw.org.

These partnerships have been formed to help further a traffic safety culture in Illinois and to reduce traffic fatalities and injuries resulting from distracted driving.  Please help the ILACP, AAA, and the Joliet Police Department to keep Illinois’ roadways safe and Illinois strong.

Joliet Police Cracking Down on Drunk Drivers for Holidays

The Joliet Police Department will participate in a national effort during this holiday season designed to raise awareness of the dangers of drinking and driving. Special enforcement efforts will include high visibility enforcement patrols, a roadside safety checkpoint, and seat belt enforcement zones.

Approximately one-third of all traffic crash fatalities in the United States involve drunk drivers (with blood alcohol concentrations [BACs] of .08 or higher), according to the JPD. In 2014, there were 9,967 people killed in these preventable crashes. In fact, on average, over 10,000 people have died each year (2010 to 2014) in drunk-driving crashes, police said.

In 2014, approximately 1 in 5 children (ages 14 and younger) who were killed in traffic crashes were passengers in drunk-driving crashes. Fifty-six percent of the time it was the child’s own driver who was drunk.

The Joliet Police Department urges everyone to celebrate the holidays in a safe, responsible manner. Police Chief Brian Benton reminds all motorists, “Never drink and drive … remember to buckle your seatbelt … slow down … and avoid distractions by not talking or texting while driving.”

Police will be deployed from Dec. 23, 2016, through Jan. 1, 2017, at various locations throughout the city. Assigned officers will enforce all applicable laws with an emphasis on impaired driving violations and seatbelt violations.

Warming Centers Available to Help Joliet Residents Deal with Cold Weather

The City of Joliet reminds residents to take precautions to ensure their health, safety, and well-being during days of extreme temperatures.

Residents can seek shelter at the following locations:

  • Louis Joliet Shopping Mall-Monday to Saturday 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM and Sunday 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM
  • Daybreak 611 E. Cass Street – overnight warm shelter will be open
  • Morningstar Mission 350 E. Washington Street – overnight warm shelter will be open

Please remember to check on the elderly, those with medical conditions, and those with special needs during periods of extreme cold weather.

During Winter Storms and Extreme Cold:

When At Home:

  • Stay indoors in a heated room as much as possible.
  • Hang blankets over windows at night, but let the sun shine in during the day. Cover cracks around doors with rugs, newspapers, towels or other such material.
  • When using alternative heat from a fireplace, wood stove, space heater, etc., use safeguards and ensure proper ventilation to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • If your water pipes freeze:
    • Shut off water at the main source. This can minimize the damage to your home.
    • Call a plumber and contact your insurance agent.
    • Never try to thaw a frozen pipe with an open flame or torch.
    • Always be careful of the potential for electric shock in and around standing water.

Outside:

  • Avoid overexertion, such as shoveling heavy snow, pushing a car or walking in deep snow. The strain from the cold and the hard labor of snow shoveling could cause a heart attack at any age – a major cause of death in the winter. Don’t ignore chest pain or tightness in your chest.
  • If you become stranded outdoors:
    • Seek shelter to stay dry.
    • Cover all exposed parts of the body.
    • Do not eat snow as it will lower your body temperature. Melt it first.
  • Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.
  • Frostbite is a severe reaction to cold exposure of the skin that can permanently damage fingers, toes, the nose and ear lobes. Symptoms are numbness and a white or pale appearance to the skin. When symptoms are apparent, seek medical help immediately. If medical help is not immediately available, slowly warm the affected areas.
  • Hypothermia, or low body temperature, is a condition brought on when the body temperature drops to less than 95 degrees F, which can be life-threatening!
  • Symptoms include:
    • Slow or slurred speech
    • Incoherence
    • Memory loss
    • Disorientation
    • Uncontrollable shivering
    • Drowsiness
    • Repeated stumbling
    • Apparent exhaustion.
  • If these symptoms are detected, take the person’s temperature. If below 95 degrees F, immediately seek medical attention. If medical help is not available, begin warming the person slowly. Always warm the body core first. Do NOT warm the arms and legs first – this can force the cold blood toward the heart and can lead to heart failure. Get the person into dry clothing and wrap them in a warm blanket covering the head and neck. Do not give the victim alcohol, drugs, coffee or any hot beverage. Warm broth is better.

Foil Package Theft

Package theft is a crime of opportunity. Some passers-by, seeing an unattended box from Amazon, CDW, or Staples.com, just can’t resist the lure of easy loot. Other thefts happen when organized theft rings follow delivery trucks around town, scooping up the boxes just as quickly as the delivery person can put them down.

Use these tips to prevent porch package theft:

Require a signature. Most couriers provide the option of requiring a signature for delivery. If you select this option and nobody is home to accept the delivery, the delivery person will generally leave a note indicating how you can pick up your package. It might delay getting your goods, but at least you’ll get them!

Track your deliveries. Most couriers have a tool on their website (or on their app) that allows you to predict with some accuracy when the package will be delivered. Consider arranging to be at home when you’re expecting a particularly valuable piece of merchandise.

Sign up for delivery notifications. Some couriers and merchants are able to send you a text alert the moment your package is delivered. These notifications make it very easy to get your package before a thief does.

Pick it up quickly. The longer a box sits on your front porch, the greater the likelihood that thieves will swipe it. Bring packages inside as soon as possible to deny them the chance to run off with your stuff.

Get your neighbors involved. If you don’t already know your neighbors, now’s the time to do so. Exchange phone numbers and offer to pick up their packages for them, and see if they’re willing to do the same for you.

Consider an alternate address. If receiving deliveries at work is an option, consider going that route so you know someone will be around to sign for them.

Install a camera (even a fake one). Modern, high-definition security systems are remarkably inexpensive, not to mention do-it-yourself friendly. Even a fake camera with a flashing light is better than nothing.

These measures are especially important for merchandise that you need immediately and won’t have time to replace if stolen.

The good news is if a courier leaves a package on your porch without a signature, the courier is generally responsible for replacing it. Every online retailer also has a claims process for packages ordered and paid for but not received. If all else fails, your credit card company would likely eat the charge for a package that was never delivered to you.

Joliet Police to Host City-Wide National Night Out Event

In an effort to expand the National Night Out event in Joliet, the Police Department will be staging officers in various neighborhoods throughout the city to meet and greet their community partners. This annual event brings together citizens, law enforcement agencies, local officials, and area businesses to increase anti-crime awareness. National Night Out is intended to heighten crime prevention awareness, strengthen police and community partnerships, create neighborhood spirit and send a message to criminals that our neighborhoods are organized and involved.

Please stop by one of the following locations on Tuesday, August 2, 2016 between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. to receive information about programs at the Joliet Police Department, discuss area concerns, or just say “Hi.”

East:

  • Forest Park Community Center, 1017 Woodruff Road, Joliet
  • Sacred Heart Church, 337 South Ottawa Street, Joliet

Central:

  • Moran Athletic Club, 1207 Nicholson Street, Joliet
  • St. John’s Church, 404 North Hickory Street, Joliet

West:

  • LA Fitness, 1745 Illinois Route 59, Plainfield
  • Joliet Police Department West Station, 7196 Caton Farm Road, Plainfield

Joliet Police Chief Brian Benton is also encouraging neighbors to turn on their front porch lights for the night as a sign of unity for the community.


The City of Joliet is the fourth largest city in the state of Illinois, located just 45 miles southwest of Chicago’s Loop. Home to over 147,000 residents, in addition to thriving businesses and attractions, the City of Joliet is easily accessible by rail, auto and bus transit. A perfect place to live, work and play, Joliet is constantly striving to promote growth and diversity. For more information on Joliet visit www.cityofjoliet.info or call 815.724.4000.

Excessive Heat Warning In Effect Thursday and Friday

The National Weather Service in Chicago has issued an EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING, which is in effect from noon Thursday to 7:00 PM Friday.

Temperatures are expected to be in the mid 90s Thursday and Friday, with maximum heat index values from 105 to 115 degrees.

Temperatures this high could lead to heat-related illnesses with prolonged exposure. The elderly, small children, and pets are especially susceptible. Plan ahead – have a cool place to shelter from the heat. Avoid outdoor activity during the afternoon.

Take extra precautions if you work or spend time outside. When possible, reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening. Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Wear lightweight and loose-fitting clothing when possible and drink plenty of water.

Heat stroke is an emergency – call 911.

Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances. This is especially true during warm or hot weather when car interiors can reach lethal temperatures in a matter of minutes.

The Joliet Police Department will actively enforce state laws and city ordinances regarding animal cruelty and endangering the life/health of children. If you see animals or children locked in an unattended vehicle, call 911.

Joliet Police Remind Residents That Fireworks Are Illegal

In anticipation of the upcoming 4th of July holiday, the Joliet Police Department reminds its residents that FIREWORKS ARE ILLEGAL in Joliet. Fireworks can cause fatalities, injuries, fires, and millions of dollars in property loss each year.

In recent years, the Police Department has received a growing number of complaints of fireworks. In order to more appropriately respond to these calls and for the safety of Joliet’s residents, ordinances have been adopted that make it “unlawful for any person to knowingly possess, offer for sale, display for sale, sell at retail, use or explode any fireworks” within the corporate limits of Joliet. Additionally, loud/unnecessary noise through the “throwing or propelling of any firecrackers, Roman candles or rockets of any type, or any articles of any explosive nature intended to be used as firecrackers” is also prohibited.

Violators of these ordinances will be issued a $150 compliance ticket and fireworks will be confiscated.

“Fireworks are inherently dangerous. Just having them around increases the hazard to the individual personally and to the community in general,” according to Police Chief Brian Benton. He further stresses, “Have a good time on the 4th of July and leave the firework displays to the professionals.”

Fireworks will be displayed at dark on July 4 at the Joliet Memorial Stadium.