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In the wake of controversy over a huge list of gang members maintained by Chicago police, Evanston police report Evanston lists 435 people in a statewide database of suspected gang members.

Pro Publica Illinois and the Chicago Tribune reported earlier this year that the Chicago Police Department’s database, with 128,000 names, is, in the words of critics, “inaccurate, outdated and racially skewed.”

The Chicago database is so large that it totals 4.75 percent of the city’s entire population.

By comparison, a regional gang intelligence database maintained by the Cook County Sheriff’s office has just over 25,000 names, which amounts to about 0.48 percent of the county’s population.

Evanston’s 435 entries in the statewide Law Enforcement Agencies Data System are equivalent to 0.58 percent of Evanston’s population.

In a report prepared for Monday’s City Council Homan Services Committee meeting, Evanston Police Chief Richard Eddington says Detective Chris Tortorello, the department’s intelligence officer, conducted a preliminary audit of the city’s gang files last April.

The audit, Tortorello says, led to updating information in 60 files, the removal of seven subjects from the LEADS database and the re-entry of three subjects into the system who’d previously been removed.

He says the Evanston list includes many gang members who don’t live in Evanston but are included because they frequent the city and commit crimes here.

In a memo, Tortorello says, “Gang Intel is an imperative part of intelligence-based policing and proper maintenance of this information is integral to this process.”

Eddington says another audit of the city’s gang database is scheduled for October.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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2 Comments

  1. Gang databases

    Any gang databases for Skokie and Wilmette, the two suburbs that border Evanston?                     

    1. Sheriff’s data

      Hi Daniel,

      I don’t have numbers for databases maintained by those departments, but the Cook County Sheriff’s Office database lists 47 gang members in Skokie, 23 in Evanston and one in Wilmette.

      — Bill

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