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.