Evanston police say a car stolen was set on fire Saturday night and a Chicago man has been charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse. Those stories and more in the weekend crime wrapup.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Complete waste of taxpayer dollars

    I am an avid reader of Evanston Now and often see postings that speak about the waste of tax payer’s dollars as well as suggestions as to how the City of Evanston can cut back. Well, over the past two weeks, I have witnessed what may be one of the largest mishandlings of time, money and an absolute abuse of aldermanic power that I have seen in years.  Please allow me to explain.

    I live in Southeast Evanston and have noticed something peculiar on Custer Ave. For two weeks now, while traveling to work, running errands, and coming home late at night, I have seen an Evanston Police car parked directly in front of the same home (135 Custer) at all hours of the day. It seems to never move.  I realized there are different officers in the car each time I drive by, however, the car NEVER MOVES! There has been an on duty police officer in front of this home for the last 14 days- 24 hrs a day (336 hours and counting!).  I thought perhaps something terrible had happened, yet I have not seen the typical “crime scene” tape that would indicate such a thing, just a single officer, in a solitary vehicle. 

    After day 6, I gained the courage to approach an officer in the parked car. I asked the typical question that, I’m certain, this officer has heard hundreds of times…”What’s going on officer? Is everything OK?” The Officer, politely responded “Everything is just fine.”  “Can I ask you why you are sitting here?” Again, the officer respectfully said “We have been ordered to sit in front of this house because it has been deemed a nuisance by the Alderman.” I responded, “nuisance, how so?” I pressed the officer for more information. The officer said, apparently some neighbors complained to the 8th Ward Alderman about this house, the Alderman then demanded that the Police Chief provide this “fixed post” around the clock police presence. I was told that nearly every two hours the officers rotate a new officer into position and there has not been a single minute that this home is left unsupervised FOR THE LAST 14 DAYS. I was absolutely stunned!

    So let me get this straight, because the Alderman of the very same ward that I live in(the Great 8th?) deems a single property and its occupants to be troublesome, she “demands” action from the police department and receives exactly what she wants without question? How is it that this is fair to the remainder of the constituents of her Ward, and furthermore, the rest of the citizens of Evanston? As I understand it, the officers in this city work in 8 distinct beats. When one of these officers is pulled from their beat to sit in front of this home for 2-3 hours, who then is patrolling for the citizens in their beat? The answer is NO ONE. It is essentially left unguarded for 2-3 hours  simply to appease the Alderman of the 8th ward. This is absurd!  I think everyone from Howard Street to Isabella should be outraged.  I demand to know exactly what occurred at this home that requires this waste of tax dollars!

    Lastly, I place an equal amount of blame and misuse of power upon our all our city officials, as they have the ultimate authority to approve this ridiculous arrangement or deny it! I am quite certain the “nuisance” property could be supervised in a better manner and I challenge the Chief of Police and his staff to develop an improved plan. Isn’t there a camera (again, ordered by the Alderman) just a single block from this home? Why not monitor the house from this camera? This unqualified misuse of manpower and authority must come to an immediate end.

    By the way, as of 4pm, July 25th the police car and on duty officer remains idling in front of this home as it provides the grease to the squeaky wheel. Waste, Waste, Waste!

    1. FOIA

      You should FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) any and all records/communications/etc related to the alderman, the police, and the particular property.  Also, take pictures and keep taking notes about details.

      It might take awhile, but you will get you answers.  Just don't give up.

    2. Try asking the neighbors…

      … and you'll get an earful about the constant yelling, screaming, violence, and general verbal abuse that accompanies the comings and goings at this location at all hours of the day and night.  This is a public safety & quality of life issue for those who have had the misfortune of having "bad neighbors" move in who have no respect for those who try to live quiet lives.  Many, many other attempts at intervention had been used at this location with no changes in the bad behaviors. 

         Now, if this police presence were ordered in front of the alderman's house, then yes, I could see your concerns and calls for investigation.  When you have a "hot spot" of probable criminal activity, it only makes sense to concentrate resources there for quick response and prevention.

      1. Priceless

        Cost of police babysitter for fourteen days – $12,000

        Cost for cameras at either end of the block – who knows.

        Keeping the alderwoman happy – PRICELESS

  2. You need 24 hour police

    You need 24 hour police protection for two weeks straight in order to prevent "verbal abuse" and noise? Please be specific about the acts of "violence" that have occurred as well. Nothing you have mentioned deserves this unnecessary abuse of city services. Why should the rest of the residents have to forfeit protection to overserve and placate? Unbelievable waste!

  3. 24 Hours?

    I am a tax paying citizen in Evanston, and this bothers me. I have neighbors who make noise, smoke drugs, to the point where I have had to not only call the police, but go to the 'Problem Solving Team' of EPD. At no time would I feel the need of having a well trained OFFICER of the law sit or should I say babysit one residence. I would never expect, or receive 24 hours of a police protection.

  4. Ask the neighbors?

    I live next to the Foster el stop.  Those Northwestern students get wild.  I'm not trying to pick on them, but my point is, many neighborhoods experience yelling, screaming, students walking over our cars, etc.  But we don't get a full-time police officer sitting on our blocks.  That's not fair.  I can see how police presence for an hour, every so often would be helpful, but not for 2 weeks straight.  I think the bigger issue is the Alderman who always gets what she wants.

  5. 135 Custer

    I too live in Southeast Evanston. I have a different take on 135 Custer, as I follow the story at this dangerous property every week for a couple of years now. 

     It is not a "troublesome" landlord, this landlord has repeatedly rented to tenants who threaten the folks who live nearby. I have seen their postings on our ward's message board and spoken to them in person during public events–it is not inconvenient or a minor problem as characterized above. This is a bad and dangerous scene and has been so for some time. 

    Ann with the support of many other dedicated Custer neighbors have been trying to work through the courts to get this landlord accountable for his violations. This has been going on for years. 

    Please check out the history of this property on the Great Eight Message Board. I think that you will find it quite eye opening. 

    On the police presence at this property, please read the exchange in the minutes of the City Council Meeting. Ann didn't request the police being stationed there–in fact she is complaining about it and the City Mgr is denying that it is happening. tShe just wants a meeting between the police chief and the landlord. 



  6. Set the record straight

    This deployment issue was mentioned at Monday evening’s Council meeting. I feel compelled to set the record straight.

    The deployment of Evanston Police Department personnel at 135 Custer was my decision based on several factors. This location has been a chronic problem for approximately one year, with loud verbal altercations involving tenants at this address  and neighbors routinely occurring at all hours of the day and night. Police interventions did not successfully address this behavior.  At my direction, the problem solving officer worked to amass sufficient information and citations necessary to file a request with Cook County Court to declare this property a nuisance premise. Such a declaration escalates the penalties from a minor fine imposed on the offender to a significant fine imposed on the landlord and a threat of eviction to the tenant (see City Ordinance 52-O-07 for more details). This status provides necessary leverage to alleviate the problem and permits us to discontinue the deployment, which we have done.

    You may recall how hot it has been this summer, to the point where residents on this block had to leave their windows open, but could not sleep due to the continual loud disturbances. Therefore, in an effort to restore peace and quiet in the neighborhood, I directed the deployment of EPD officers to maintain a presence at this location during the period of time that we were gathering the documentation required by Cook County Court.

    It is also important for residents to know that the on-duty commanders have the latitude to move officers off and on hot spot assignments depending on call load. An example of this was last Sunday when all cars were committed to a fatal traffic accident, a downtown bike race, and a homicide investigation; no car was sitting on Custer during these incidents.

    I encourage those of you unfamiliar with the neighborhood to take some time to talk to the residents who live on the block to determine their perception of the value of the EPD deployment. Finally, on August 27 at 7:00 pm, the EPD will be hosting a deployment command post at the Howard Street Outpost; please stop by and see how EPD’s Command Staff formulates and implements these types of decisions.

    Richard Eddington

    Chief of Police

  7. 135 Custer

    Unless you live near 135 Custer, you will never understand how this property and its tenants and landlord affect all of the neighbors, our safety and the quality of life that we are all entitled to.

    Yes it is unfortunate that this is necessary, however- until Cook County allows for more stringent measures- I am grateful that I can be in my home area, park my car, walk the dog, etc, and feel safe for the last two weeks without being exposed to harm and abuse by the individuals who felt comfortable (without the police presence) to take ownership of the immediate area. 

    Go through the police records and find out how many disturbances there have been there.  If you are still not convinced that this step by Chief was necessary, post your address and maybe they will move close to you as you may be more tolerant of their abuse, noise and crime.  Just because we are in the 8th Ward does not mean that we do not have the right to personal and property security and a peaceful environment.  Is this something that you expect where you live?  You may be thinking 'Well, WE don't get 24 hour guard' and you maybe right.  It is possible that you don't have a 24-HOUR PROBLEM, but if you did I am fairly certain you would demand and defend the police presence.  The tenants and landlord created an unsafe area at ALL times of day and night.  The police are there to provide safety.  This is not just a noise issue.  Believe us.

Leave a comment
The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *