Richard Eddington.

Crimes against persons rose 33% in the first nine months of this year and property crimes were up 29%

Interim Police Chief Richard Eddington, on his next-to-last-day on the job, told reporters there’s a lot of “angst in society” after the disruption of the pandemic that is leaving people short-tempered and making interpersonal conflicts more likely to escalate into violence.

But he added that severe short-staffing of the department is making it harder to engage in the proactive policing that can reduce crime.

The numbers shown here are based on monthly figures for 2021 and for 2022 through the end of September as shown on the department’s Crime Stats dashboard.

For both years the figures were compiled using the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s new National Incident-Based Reporting System.

That system changes the way crimes are reported so that when a crime incident has multiple victims, each victim is counted as a separate crime.

Under the previous Uniform Crime Reporting program only incidents were counted — so a multi-victim incident would only count as one crime.

The new system also adds more types of crime to the offenses that are counted in the key crime categories.

Those and other changes in the FBI reporting system tend to result in higher crime counts under the new system and make figures collected under the old system not directly comparable to the new ones.

But since the figures above were all compiled under the new system, they don’t suffer from those problems.

The FBI released annual crime reports for 2021 on Wednesday, and news reports noted major gaps in the numbers, because only 63% of the nations law enforcement agencies submitted data for the year — down from an 80% to 90% participation rate over the past two decades.

The FBI data for Evanston — using the old UCR crime categories — showed violent crime essentially unchanged from 2020, but a substantial uptick in property crimes in 2021.

The violent crime category that draws the most attention — homicides — rose to six in Evanston in 2021 — a level that hadn’t been seen since 2010.

So far this year the department says Evanston has suffered two homicides.

Ryan Glew

Eddington, and the department’s public information officer, Cmdr. Ryan Glew, said statewide changes in the pension system for police officers have made it much easier for officers to move from one department to another — and as a result, Glew said, a lot of officers are moving to departments located closer to where they live.

Eddington said there are “some scars” in the department from the defund the police campaign in 2020. He added that he hopes the city manager and city council are aware of the damage that occurred during that period and that they’ll be more attuned to the needs of the police department going forward.

He noted that Evanston has lost five officers to Arlington Heights — where the department is expanding in anticipation of the community becoming the new home of the Chicago Bears.

But he said Evanston is having success in recruiting officers from Chicago — because, unlike in Chicago, Evanston officers typically get their scheduled days off.

The department will continue to put new recruits without prior police experience through the police academy, Eddington said.

But the department is down more than two dozen officers now, and there are only four seats available to Evanston in January’s academy class.

It takes a year of academy and on-the-job training before a new officer can be fully functional on the street, the chief says.

So, he adds, lateral transfers from other departments will need to be the main strategy for rebuilding the department.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Another reason why the Connections special use permit for a homeless shelter at the Margarita Inn should be denied.

    According to their application Connections is responsible for more calls to the police on the block than before it was a homeless shelter.

    We have already seen the problems city wide as places like Connections bus in people who require more public safety intervention.

    One of the requirements for a special use permit is that the use will not have an adverse effect on city resources.

    Connections, by their very admission, will generate more demand for public safety. By this fact alone their application should be rejected

  2. It is disheartening to watch the crime and other deterioration of our city ( such as litter, broken sidewalks, empty store fronts to name just a few) while our city council spends hours on projects the public has shown no interest in such as public nudity and consideration to allow defacing of public buildings and more. It’s no wonder we were not successful in hiring any of the highly qualified candidates for City Manager who were under consideration, our elected city council is dysfunctional and misguided.

  3. Devon Reid needs to meet with the police department to make sure they understand that lowering crime isn’t part of the city’s current agenda.

    Obviously they have missed the memo that topless beaches are the most pressing matter for the city right now.

  4. I’m afraid that all the small businesses in Davis Street west of the El will struggle. Everytime I head over there, I see panhandlers up & down the block. I don’t want to frequent that area anymore. It used to be a desirable part of Evanston to live in. The property owners in that neighborhood must be very upset. Funny how homeless people can live on that block while middle class citizens who work for their living & their livelyhood cannot afford to live there. Something’s wrong with this equation. Maybe they’re moving to Arlington Heights too?

  5. Awesome that Daniel Biss’s first move as mayor was to convene that “reimagining” policing committee which helped to decimate morale in our police force. Of course he was politically responding to the clamoring of many of his voters, the wacky Evanstonians calling to “defund the police” after the George Floyd incident. Way to go, now we can’t hire and train enough officers and crime is way up. So much for improving public safety.

    But let’s remember that the Evanston Police force didn’t kill George Floyd. They did kill a man in 2021, and his name was Jason Nightengale – does anyone remember who that was? He was the troubled dude who was on a one-man killing spree from the south side of Chicago all the way to Evanston, leaving 5 dead in his wake as he moved freely across the city, until he was met on Howard Street by the brave officers of our force who took him out before he could continue his rampage here.

    There is an old expression that a there is a “thin blue line” that separates the law-abiding citizens from lawlessness and violent crime. Mr. Biss, you would be well served to remember who are and are not the heroes, and that your politically motivated actions have long lasting and real consequences.

    I’m certainly going to remember all of this when re-election time comes around.

  6. Evanston cannot afford to keep throwing resources at every social cause at the expense of the safety of tax paying residents, and depletion of city services. Evanston needs to address many issues but refuses to listen to the neighbors most impacted by the crime or safety surrounding The 4th and 5th wards.
    Police are not the enemy. They have a job and need the resources and support of the city to do it. They can’t strike and get their anxiety days off like the teachers at the sub-par local public school system.
    We need to be equally supportive of all even if it’s not popular with the socialists or protesters.
    Evanston is no longer safe. It’s just an extension of Chicago but with higher property taxes and lower minimum wage for the workers Evanston doesn’t care about.

  7. It would be interesting to see what our elected officials and candidates have to say about Evanston crime and the Safe T law

    1. Hi Fran,
      Charles Hutchinson here, and I am running for the Illinois House seat for the 18th District. Learn more about my candidacy at

      I think it is important for voters to know that our current representative sponsored the SAFE-T Act, which was passed during a lame-duck session at about 4:00AM.

      This act not only eliminates the option for judges to impose a cash bail for people accused of such violent crimes as Aggravated Batter, Aggravated DUI, Kidnapping, and Homicide, but also for most all drug crimes as well as property crimes such as Arson.

      This legislation also stops our police from enforcing the law. For example, should a person decide to trespass in a place of business or a residence, this law stops the police from removing that person from the property.

      The SAFE-T Act, sponsored by our current representative, also stops police from fully pursuing criminals and investigating criminal activity.

      People want to live in safe neighborhoods. It is the job of the government to provide safe neighborhoods for people to live. This is why we not only have police, fire, and ambulance services, but also a court system.

      I support a full repeal of the SAFE-T Act.
      — It does not make our neighborhoods safer
      — It stops police from enforcing the law
      — It hinders police efforts to fully investigate crimes and criminal activity

      I support giving police the resources they need to get guns out of the hands of criminals and people who should not have them.
      I support giving police the resources they need to fully investigate crime
      I support giving the police the resources they need to enforce the law and protect families, children, and neighborhoods from crime.

      People want to live in safe neighborhoods. Right now, our neighborhoods are becoming less safe. The SAFE-T act will not make us safer.

    2. Yes Fran, and please know that the headline in that article is deceiving at best.

      You have to go way down into the article (9 paragraphs), but it does read “The new law states: “Detention only shall be imposed when it is determined that the defendant poses a specific, real and present threat to a person, or has a high likelihood of willful flight.””

      So, what does that mean?
      The way pre-trial detention used to work, before the SAFE-T Act, bail was determined based on three factors.
      1. Will the accused show up to trial?
      2. Will the accused continue to commit crimes if released?
      3. Will the accused interfere with justice if released?
      Now, “(p)rosecutors, for example, will now have to show a defendant poses a threat to a “specific, identifiable person or persons,” rather than a more general threat to the community or class of persons, or they’d have to show that the person has a “high likelihood of willful flight.”” (paragraph 14), which is almost impossible to do.

      One real argument about how bad the SAFE T act, sponsored by our current representative, is – over 50 State’s Attorneys – both DEMOCRATIC and REPUBLICAN are suing to stop this bill. These are the attorney’s elected by the people to keep our neighborhoods safe.

      Fran, the only two State’s Attorneys I can find who support the SAFE-T Act are Kim Fox of Cook County and Eric Rinehart of Lake County.

      People want to live in safe neighborhoods. Families and children deserve to live in safe neighborhoods. Voting for Charles Hutchinson to represent the 18th District is our first step to providing safe neighborhoods.

  8. I’d be curious what Reps Gabel/Gong-Gershowitz and Sen Fine along with Chief Eddington have to say about the Safe T act.
    Since Mr. Hutchinson offered his perspective (and is Rep Gabel’s opponent), I’m particularly interested in Rep Gabel’s response–what does Mr. Hutchinson have wrong?

  9. I really don’t understand the comment about officers moving to Arlington Heights in anticipation of the Bears move. That is 5 to 10 years out and still not a confirmed deal. Tell it like it is. We need new leadership in the department. Looking forward to seeing Chief Stewart in action.

  10. Great piece! For the last 3 years, we homeowners have been trying to get the attention of our city council, to no avail.

    Repeated calls in 2020 and 2021 to stop the Defund Police harassment of our officers in front of the EPD went unheard. After months of Evanston City Council ignoring the issue, the EPD rightfully resorted to a Workplace Harassment claim to get the 6-foot painted anti-EPD messaging off of their front door.

    Shamefully, on Aug 8, 2021, a group of privileged teens/20-somethings showed up in front of EPD the very day that CPD Officer Ella French was killed while on duty, . As a reminder, Officer French, a young mom, had just returned to duty after maternity leave with her new baby.

    These spoiled kids painted the sidewalk and street with “All Cops are Bastards,” “Defund Police,” “Compost the Rich,” along with images of pigs in police hats and printed signage “Defund EPD.”

    On that day, we called Jonathan Nieswma to rally the city council to put a stop to the anti-police activity occurring that day, esp given the tragic news of Officer Ella French’s murder the night before. He was not interested in making the effort taking place within the boundaries of his Ward, to even go see the situation. “Oh, I have been out of town, had not heard anything.”

    This careless attitude about anti-EPD activities explains Evanston’s clear decline over the past few years.

    Our community needs EPD! Our officers are outstanding, esp in an environment in which their hands are tied in doing their job to address Evanston’s declining quality of life.

    What, exactly, is driving this anti-EPD activity? What is the EPD doing wrong? That has never been articulated.

    For a growing chorus of citizens, the only thing they are doing wrong is toeing the line of our woke city council that is focused on topless beaches, political correct filtering of city documents and climate change. We need them to focus on the scary situation in our deserted downtown and skyrocketing crime.

    EPD – we need you and hope you stay.

    Homeowner, Taxpayer

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 *