Rates of reported crime in Evanston — which had risen more than 30% during the first nine months of 2022 — fell during the last quarter of the year.

The latest data from the police department shows that crimes against persons, which were up by 35% from 2021 levels during the January through September period, fell 12% from prior year levels in the October through December period.

Property crimes, which rose 30% compared to 2021 levels during the first nine months of the year, dropped by 5% against year-earlier levels in the fourth quarter.

Despite the improvement toward the end of the year, for the year as a whole crimes against persons in 2022 were up 22% from year before levels, while property crimes increased by 20%.

Evanston’s new police chief, Schenita Stewart, took over as head of the department on Oct. 10, and immediately embarked on an outreach campaign of community meetings and vowed to work on filling the 27 vacant positions in the department.

Stewart, in an interview with Evanston Now Wednesday afternoon, said she’s encouraged by the recent decline in crime and hope it continues.

She said she’s been working with her command staff to increase the number of officers deployed to areas where crimes have been recently reported and believes that change is having an impact.

“They’re doing a real good job of deploying officers where they’re most needed,” the chief said.

Stewart said the department has hired a total of 10 new officers in the past few months — four who were lateral transfers from other departments and six who are new to policing.

Those six will have to go through the police academy and in-the-field training before they can begin patrol on their own. That, she said, means it will be about a year before they’ll be on regular patrol.

She said total sworn officer vacancies are now down to 16, but that the vacancy total is a moving target, with officers continuing to put in for retirement. Two more officers, Stewart said, are scheduled to retire next month.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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4 Comments

  1. Crimes against persons up 22% and property crimes up 20% in 2022. These are the sad facts.

    The decline in the last quarter is likely in part attributable to the seasonal decline typically experienced annually.

    In a meeting with Mayor Biss and Alderman Nieuwsma on June 21, 2022, to discuss my concerns with the influx of aggressive panhandlers and share that I was assaulted by one of them in front of Target on Sherman on May 4, 2022, the Mayor’s response was that I was in the minority with my concerns and he doesn’t see what the issue is – that isn’t his experience. I was stunned.

    Evanston is a social services magnet attracting vagrants and criminals from all over the country who come to take advantage of our woke generosity and prey on innocent people. They have ruined our city with their threatening and anti-social behavior, aggressive actions, filth, and hatred.

    Connections for the Homeless, Albany Care, Trilogy Mental Health Services, are just some of the numerous entities that fuel this magnet affect.

    Many choose to enable these people by giving them money or food (which they often throw away) as they leave Bennison’s, Starbucks, Target, and on and on. I’m sure this makes them feel good but they should realize the harm: cash used to buy drugs from dealers who are attracted to downtown (often packing heat) as one of many examples.

    Downtown has become a depressing, filthy, smelly, disorderly haven for these people.

    Business owners are frustrated and losing business and employees due to the lack of safety and state of downtown.

    I hope the Mayor, City Council, and City staff wake up and support EPD with tougher laws and robust funding for more preventative initiatives including more feet on the street.

    In the meantime, we will continue to spend our money elsewhere and simply use Evanston as our bedroom.

    1. Joe wrote: “In a meeting with Mayor Biss and Alderman Nieuwsma on June 21, 2022, to discuss my concerns with the influx of aggressive panhandlers and share that I was assaulted by one of them in front of Target on Sherman on May 4, 2022, the Mayor’s response was that I was in the minority with my concerns and he doesn’t see what the issue is – that isn’t his experience. I was stunned…”

      Wow, just WOW, Joe! I *cringe* that someone would say that to you… a normal – brained person would be ashamed to say something like that, as it is a truly “sociopathic” comment…

      It’s a squalid and utterly contemptible thing to say to a constituent; this marks Biss as a patronizing useless clown, and he certainly has **no** business being in office…

      This is more of the “let them eat cake” mentality that “our betters” in Evanston government (and poverty – hustling non – profit groups) are foisting upon us… and then they are “puzzled” as to why downtown is dying, lol…

      I’m an old single guy, but if I were young and had a family I would *very* quickly “make tracks” for a safer and more sanely – governed place. Our elected officials are I guess intent on turning Evanston – with all of their “social justice” claptrappery and folderol – into a Midwestern version of dystopian San Francisco, Seattle, or Portland…

      Just sign me “disgusted” 🙁

      Respectfully,
      Gregory Morrow – Evanston 4th Ward resident

  2. The Mayor should meet with the victims of the crimes against persons making up the 22% increase ( actually all victims) and face them all with his view that they are in the minority with Joe. Continuing to ignore a problem often allows it to grow and fester. The Mayor’s and City’s continued focus on wasteful initiatives versus public safety is appalling.

  3. Dan Biss doesn’t see the decline in Evanston because he lives in the backyard of Old Orchard Mall, at the west end of Central St, far from the vagrancy those of us on wards 1 and 4 experience every day. Just last night at Sherman Starbucks, one of the new vagrants was hanging out in the rear of the store, asking people for money and strangely touching himself.

    Dan: this gross behavior has become routine and in downtown Evanston. You have stated in public that you “would welcome a homeless shelter next to your house.” Let’s see you act on your virtue signal by moving one of the shelters from ward 4 to your neighborhood so that you and your children can enjoy the filthy and threatening street (and library) behaviors we experience every day.

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