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Crime down for year, up for month

Evanston’s crime rate decreased 6.4 percent in 2005, but rose 76 percent last month.

The annual figures compiled by the police department dropped for the eighth year in a row, to their lowest level since sometime before 1970.

Evanston’s crime rate decreased 6.4 percent in 2005, but rose 76 percent last month.

The annual figures compiled by the police department dropped for the eighth year in a row, to their lowest level since sometime before 1970.

Police Chief Frank Kaminski said the department’s community policing efforts are largely responsible for the decline.

He blamed last month’s increase on unusually warm winter weather which, he said, resulted in an unusually high number of thefts, especially from vehicles.

For the year, violent crimes in Evanston dropped 15 percent, while the much more numerous property crimes fell 5.7 percent.

By comparison, Chicago police reported a 3 percent decline in violent crime and an 8 percent drop in property crime last year. That department recorded a 13 percent increase in crime last month.

Crime statistics nationwide are compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation from local police reports. The latest FBI figures, comparing the first six months of 2005 to the same period in 2004, show a drop nationwide of 0.5 percent in violent crime and a decline of 2.8 percent in property crimes.

For the Midwest as a whole, the FBI figures show a 3.5 percent increase in violent crimes and a 3 percent decline in property crimes.

For violent crimes, Evanston police report that murders dropped from three to two last year, criminal sexual assault increased from seven to eight, robberies declined from 139 to 108 and aggravated assault and battery fell from 117 to 108.

Property crimes figures showed burglaries fell from 651 to 568, thefts declined from 2,376 to 2,259, auto theft increased from 103 to 125 and arsons dropped from 15 to 13.

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