Evanston Alderman Delores Holmes says some of the 11 properties identified as crime hotspots this week are occupied by homeowners who’ve told her they didn’t know that the relatives they’ve shared their homes with were creating a nuisance in the neighborhood.
“I talked to one lady today,” Holmes told residents at a 5th Ward meeting Thursday night, “who said it would have been helpful if police had provided her some preliminary information to help get rid of one of her relatives.”
“But when you’ve got 39 police calls to your house,” Holmes added, “That should have been a sign that something was wrong.”
“Sometimes it’s really very difficult to deal with our relatives,” she said. “Sometimes you have to make decsions that are hard. But if your relative is causing you to lose your house, you’ve got to make a decision.”
“If you know that your grandson or your nephew or your niece or cousin is bringing drugs or firearms into the community, they’re part of the problem, not the solution,” Holmes said.
The owner of one home on the list, Tommy Anderson of 1827 Lyons St., said he and his wife work every day and therefore often aren’t home. He urged police officers in the room, “if you see people hanging out in front, if they don’t live there, keep ’em moving.”
Anderson added that a tenant he’d had in the building has moved out and “you shouldn’t have any more problems.”
“Keep ’em moving, please,” Anderson repeated.
Asked by one woman what police could do to keep gang members from Chicago from moving into Evanston, Police Chief Richard Eddington said “the preponderance of our gang-related issues are home grown.”
But he added that Chicago and Evanston police share the same database that provides records of gang activity.
One man complained that 10 of the 11 properties on the list were in the 5th Ward, when, he claimed there was a similar level of violence elsewhere in town — especially near Howard Street.
But the chief said that, at least this year, the bulk of shooting incidents and other violent crime has occurred on the city’s west side.
“We’re going to work through this 30-day trial” of the new targeted enforcement strategy, Eddington said, and then see if it’s expandable.
“We havent had the volume of calls at any property in south Evanston that we’ve seen here,” he added.
The chief promised to return to the ward meeting in two months with an update on the program.
Also at the meeting, to respond to community concerns about a joint operation last summer of Evanston Police with the Cook County Sheriff’s Police Department was Brian Whilte, that department’s executive officer.
But because a formal complaint had recently been filed over an alleged overly-aggressive frisking of a young man during that sweep, White was limited to discussing general policies on when officers can stop persons under the 1968 Supreme Court case Terry v. Ohio.
New, affordable … and a crime hotspot (11/17/15)
City plans nuisance property crackdown (11/16/15)