Naperville Police and Crime Stoppers Announce Winners of Crime Prevention Essay Contest

Education and community partnerships reign high on students’ lists of crime prevention strategies

As Crime Prevention Month comes to a close, the Naperville Police Department and Naperville Crime Stoppers are pleased to announce the winners of this year’s Crime Prevention Essay Contest.

In the 3rd-4th grade age category, the winner is Viviana Didzbalis, a 3rd grader at Scott Elementary School, who wrote about the basics of locking doors and windows and reminding others to do the same. Honorable mentions in this category go to Akhshith Rengaraju, 4th grade at May Watts Elementary School; Zahra Moosani, 3rd grade at Kingsley Elementary School; and Poorna Bhat, 3rd grade at White Eagle Elementary School.

In the 5th-6th grade age category, the winner is Julia Kapur, a 5th grader at Highlands Elementary School. Julia wrote a thoughtful essay outlining the need for early education to teach young children not to turn to crime when they encounter hardships later in life, but rather to seek help from others for their problems. Honorable mentions in this category go to Athena Chen, 5th grade at Highlands Elementary School, and Annie Zhang, 5th grade at Chesterbrook Academy.

In the 7th-8th grade age category, the winner is Alan Chen, a 7th grader at Madison Junior High School, who wrote about the importance of knowing your neighbors and working together as a community in partnership with the police to prevent crime. Honorable mentions in this category go to Adhvaith Mhahesh, 6th grade at Francis Granger Middle School, and Caroline Hughes, 8th grade at All Saints Catholic Academy.

“Each and every essay that was submitted was so thoughtful and well-written that we really had a difficult time choosing winners for this contest,” said Police Chief Robert Marshall, adding that he is seriously considering implementing a few of the students’ ideas. “I am so proud of all the students, and if their passion for crime prevention and forward-thinking ideas are any indication, I think Naperville is going to be in really good hands down the road.”

In recognition of October being Crime Prevention Month, Naperville Police and Crime Stoppers asked students in grades 3 through 8 to write essays of no more than 300 words outlining “What I Would Do to Prevent Crime.” The winners – Viviana, Julia and Alan – will be treated to lunch with Chief Marshall and enjoy a private tour of the Naperville Police Department.

“One of Crime Stoppers’ primary missions is to teach people how to be proactive because crime prevention is truly everyone’s responsibility,” said Nancy Quigley, president of Naperville Crime Stoppers. “We’re so proud of the students for identifying so many measures through which our community – even children – can work together to keep Naperville safe.”

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About Naperville: Located 28 miles west of Chicago, Naperville, Ill., is home to approximately 145,000 people. This vibrant, thriving city consistently ranks as a top community in the nation in which to live, raise children and retire. The city is home to acclaimed public and parochial schools, the best public library system in the country, an array of healthcare options and an exceptionally low crime rate. Naperville has ready access to a variety of public transportation, housing and employment options. The city’s diversified employer base features high technology firms, retailers and factories, as well as small and home-based businesses. Residents also enjoy world-class parks, diverse worship options, the opportunity to serve on several City boards and commissions, a thriving downtown shopping and dining area, a renowned outdoor history museum known as Naper Settlement and an active civic community. For more information, please visit our website at