Violent crime increased overall in suburban Cook County last year, but it declined dramatically in Evanston.

Reports of murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault and battery were up 11.4 percent in suburban Cook County, but declined 15.5 percent in Evanston.

That leaves Evanston with a violent crime rate of 3.02 incidents per 1,000 residents, slightly below the suburban average of 3.18.

The violent crime rate in Chicago declined 2.5 percent last year to 12.56 incidents per 1,000 residents. The rate in Skokie rose 12.3 percent, while in Wilmette it was up. 0.6 percent. Statewide violent crime increased 1.5 percent.

The data, released this week by the Illinois State Police, provide the first comparison of figures by county and with all smaller police agencies included. The FBI earlier this year released data for larger communities nationwide.

Evanston recorded two murders in 2005, down from three in 2004. Rapes increased from seven to eight. Robberies declined from 139 to 108 and incidents of battery and aggravated assault declined from 117 to 108.

The overall index crime rate — violent crimes plus burglary, theft, auto theft and arson — declined 2.3 percent in suburban Cook County last year, but was down 7 percent in Evanston and 6.5 percent in Chicago. Statewide index crimes declined 3.1 percent.

The overall crime rate in Evanston, despite declining for eight years in a row to a level now lower than at any time since before 1970, is still substantially higher at 42.6 incidents per 1,000 people than the 32.4 rate for suburban Cook County as a whole.

Evanston had 568 burglaries in 2005, down from 651 in 2004. Thefts declined from 2,376 to 2,259; auto theft rose from 103 to 125, and arson incidents declined from 15 to 13.

The number of crimes reported to Northwestern University’s police department on the Evanston campus declined last year by 7.1 percent. NU police handle about one-tenth as many crime incidents as Evanston city police. The NU crime figures are not included in the city’s totals.

The campus police saw a dramatic decline in robberies — from six incidents in 2004 to just one in 2005.

One rape was reported on campus each year. The number of reported thefts declined from 295 to 275 and auto thefts went from three in 2004 to zero in 2005. One arson incident was reported on campus last year up from none in 2004.

Related stories
What’s next for Evanston police? – July 27, 2006
Evanston bucks violent crime trend – June 16, 2006
Related link
Illionis State Police – Crime in Illinois 2005

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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