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.