The so-far-unexplained death of a 31-year-old Evanston woman whose body was found over the weekend in the yard of a home at 1716 Dodge Ave. prompted discussion by aldermen this week of what can be done about what they called “drug houses” and nuisance properties in the community.

Evanston police say the woman, who did not live at that address, was found unresponsive in the rear yard of the home about 6 a.m. Saturday. She was transported to Evanston Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Police Cmdr. Joseph Dugan says there were no signs of trauma to the body and a determination of the cause of death is pending toxicology reports but that preliminary indications point toward a possible drug overdose.

At Monday’s Human Services Committee meeting, Alderman Jane Grover, 7th Ward, said that just walking by the home in the middle of the day “it was disturbing to see the number of adults hanging out there.”

Alderman Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward, said he’s concerned about nuisance properties in the community, and suggested the city may need to update its existing nuisance premises ordinance.

Alderman Brian Miller, 9th Ward, said there needs to be a wider discussion of strategy with the police and the wider community to “invite various stakeholders to discuss what’s going on with problem properties around the city and coordinate to do what we can to make sure the problems are addressed.”

Braithwaite said responsibilities of landlords to manage their properties needs to be included in the discussion, as well as how community members can inform police about problem properties.

The committee voted to schedule a fuller discussion of the issue at the its next meeting on Dec. 7.

Meanwhile, Cmdr. Dugan says detectives are still investigating the weekend death and that people with information about that incident or the property where the body was found are asked to call the department’s narcotics hotline at 847-866-5055 or use the anonymous Text A Tip service by texting CRIMES (274637) and texting EPDTIP in the message line followed by the information.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Stop affordable housing

    Stop affordable housing and you get rid of places like this and the people who inhabit them; who also happen to commit vast majority of crime.

    1. I agree.At the same time let
      I agree.At the same time let’s keep those folks that’s always committing white collar crimes from doing it again by barring their kind from holding any office positions……

    2. This is a silly statement for
      This is a silly statement for several reasons! 1 it equates poverty with drug use 2 the majority of all drug use is white or non black! 2 drugs use is an illness that people are profiting on the majority of that profit is not in the hands of people who live in the area 3 85 percent of all drug arrests are black people 4 if we keep this attitude the war on drugs which is really a war on black and poor people will continue!!

      1. Rebuttal
        Drug use is not an illness its a choice. Selling drugs is also a choice. This persons post had nothing to do with race at all so im not sure where thats coming from.

        But i agree to some extent. Not all people who live in low income housing are criminals but a vast majority of low level criminals do.

        1. Drug Use

          I agree, when users initially start taking a drug, it is a choice.  Unfortunately, that is not the end of the story.  Having had up close and personal experience with a family member who had an addiction, that is something so far removed from choice it can only be a disease.  No person whose body is failing, who is throwing up blood, who voids blood when they defecate and urinate and who continues to ingest the drugs that are causing this condition is doing so by choice.  Our very survival instinct, were we able to be rational, would negate the continued use of anything that caused body failure.  In my family member's case, it was liver failure and bleeding of the stomach lining.  Guess what that drug was… Tylenol 3 with Codeine which was prescribed for a crushed disk in the spinal column.  A few pills a day for significant pain, and suddenly the addiction is there.  At the height of this addiction, our family member was able to take 300+ pills A DAY.  Anyone who is abusing a drug to this extent is no longer able to discern choice versus need.  They are not making a choice… they are addicted and THAT IS a disease.  Prior to this experience, I would have agreed with you that taking drugs is a choice.  I can't agree with that any longer…. sadly.

          Selling drugs is most definitely a choice.  Our family member was able to buy Codeine right out of the back door of crooked pharmacies.  And there were also the doctors that were found who would write prescriptions for a little "fee."  Not all drug dealing is done in the street.  🙁

  2. Cops knew this was a drug house

    Evanston police knew this was a drug house way before this girl was found dead .They don't act on anything unless something bad happens . 

    1. Stop Blaming the Police

      Why does everyone try and blame the police for a community's socio-economic problem. Even if the police knew the location was a problem, they can't just go boot the door in and arrest everyone. It takes neighbors and people who will step up from the community to get involved and assist the police with getting rid of the problem. I see a lot  of people hiding behind their anonymous comments and pushing the blame to others when accountability is lacking with the people that cause issues in our community.  If you really care, hold the renters and the landlords accountable by changing the ordinance.

  3. Whle Evanston has far more

    Whle Evanston has far more than its share of special housing, it has not right to blame all the people in special housing for the problems created by a few people. This is just as bad as the people that want to take away all guns when one person acts illegally with a gun.

    1. The owner who rents out this

      The owner who rents out this house should be held responsible for the people that he rents to. This is his second piece of property on this block. He doesn't live in this area and only cares about the rent. 

  4. Has Evanston bottomed out on this section of Evanston yet

    How many more deaths from violence or drugs must this city have so close toETHS? It seems there has been more danger in one small section of Evanston than anywhere else in the city. If the landlords are negligent and don't care who their tenants are, then the city should buy their buildings and knock them down. And give incentives to new developers to revitalize the area. Heck build the performing arts center there. 

    1. The other area
      While there are a large [probably vast majority] of decent law abiding residents in there, in general the crime stats. for Dodge and west are a very large percent of the location for crime..
      But don’t forget the area from the Metra tracks to at least Custer and from the Skokie Swift tracks to Howard [probably further south into Rogers Park]. Yet that is where the Puckish Pig is.
      Of course this is a generalization and there are many law abiding citizens who live in these areas for one reason or another.
      Over the years I’ve talked to co-workers and others who want to move to Evanston. I took a map and circled good and bad areas. It puts the states gerrymandering maps to shame. There are areas where on the same block are very nice houses where there probably has not been a crime committed by anyone in 20+ years but turn the corner and I had to mark it bad or questionable—a real mess. But people don’t just live on their ‘good block’—they have to go to the grocery and other shopping and walk to the trains and buses. Certainly Evanston is not alone in this. Rogers Park and maybe even more so the very expensive high rises on Lake Shore Driver [e.g. Irving Park] face this—they have to walk to the CTA.

  5. These same people get put out
    These same people get put out of one place to the next to make problems an stranger danger in that area. The city inspectors when complaints meaning more then several should hold these landlords accountable by the ordinance that are in place for such behavior

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