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Evanston police report that crime in the city has increased 15% so far this year. Year-over-year, burglaries, auto theft, simple assault and kidnapping are showing some of the largest increases.

The reports, compiled by Evanston Now from the city’s Crime Trends Dashboard, come as Mayor Daniel Biss, who campaigned on a pledge to reimagine public safety, called Thursday for residents to be “shocked and outraged” about recent incidents of gun violence that left a 29-year-old man dead and a 13-year-old girl critically injured.

The increase in crime appears to be accelerating. Comparing the past 365 days to the year earlier period, the crime increase is just 4.5%

Not all crime categories are increasing, but many are.

Murders during the 365 day period have increased from three to four. Kidnappings shot up from three to nine.

Aggravated assaults — ones taking place in public places — are down. But simple assaults — putting someone in reasonable fear of an physical attack in any other setting — are way up.

Other than suggesting that residents “demand reasonable gun laws” — something that cannot be accomplished at the municipal level given restrictive court rulings — the mayor offered no specifics in his message Thursday but said city employees would be “working together to develop more strategies.”

The city has taken steps in recent months to provide non-police responses for persons suffering mental health crises and to create a “living room” alternative to hospital emergency rooms for providing immediate mental health care.

But the city has also cut its authorized police department staffing and additionally suffered numerous vacancies in the department with officers retiring or transferring to other agencies — with at least some of those losses blamed on “defund the police” protests held in the city.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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6 Comments

  1. Another example of Evanston being reactive – not proactive. Keep it up and we will continue to lose businesses and residents.

  2. Count me also unimpressed with the Mayor’s note. No plan, no acknowledgement of the increase in crime, no mention of accountability. As noted by Bill, he mentions handguns and asks residents to remain “outraged”, but offers no specifics.

    Now I know that the local crime spike is mostly beyond his control. However, he has disappointingly failed to step up and demonstrate some leadership. He doesn’t seem to have taken this seriously or realized that public safety is a priority for Evanston residents. Perceived safety is necessary to inspire confidence for businesses to open in Evanston and for residents to feel safe strolling around to patronize those businesses. Shootings, stabbings, and carjackings in areas such as downtown and Ladd Arboretum are just not acceptable. And yes, some examples of leadership might actually involve cooperating with the police more (and I say that as a liberal).

    Even among progressive Evanston residents, I find that crime is coming up more and more as a topic of conversation among neighbors. The Mayor needs to realize that residents are concerned.

  3. So how’s that “defund the police” thing working??? The question is for those who advocated it with little understanding of how policing works in Evanston. We have lost so many good officers with years of training and experience. Recruiting is hard. People want to work where they will be appreciated. The broad “defund” brush was wielded with little understanding of how EPD has worked in our city.

  4. Yes, what a shame. Should not have to worry and be on the look out when I take my pup out for her last potty @ nite. I am sick seeing people in front of every damn store begging for money. I am sick of being woken up out of a sound sleep because some thug is cutting off ANOTHER catalytic converter. I am sick of all the garbage and graffiti.I am heartbroken at the trash and unruliness along our beautiful lakefront. I don’t give a damn who or what you are, RESPECT cost nothing. Totally agree, “defund the police”????????? beyond a foolish cry. Can’t speak for anyone else but I will not pay these high taxes and live in disgust. I have loved being part of this community but our city officials are have made living here untenable.

  5. 9 kidnappings in the last 365 days??? WTF. And we’re not talking about that? That’s crazy. I never heard of any kidnappings in Evanston, let alone 9!

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