The FBI has just released figures showing that violent crime in the United States dropped 6 percent last year and major property crimes declined by 2.7 percent.

By comparison, figures released by Evanston police earlier this year show a decline of 16 percent for violent crime and 12 percent for major property crimes in the city.

The number of “index crimes” in Evanston tracked in the FBI figures has declined by more than half over the past decade.

Evanston Police Chief Richard Eddington credits the continuing reduction in crime to weekly deployment strategy meetings that let the department focus its resources on crime hot spots, its work with community groups on crime prevention efforts and on efforts to be transparent — providing information on its activities to the public.

Nationwide, criminologists have credited the drop to an aging population, better policing and continued high rates of imprisonment for criminals.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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