The Evanston Police Pepartment released its annual report for 2011 today, noting that while the total crime rate hardly budged, three violent crime categories saw major declines and the department conducted two major undercover drug operations.
Overall crime declined just 0.3 percent — with 2,324 part I crimes reported to the FBI in 2011 compared to 2,331 in 2010.
But murders dropped 40 percent — from 5 in 2010 to 3 in 2011.
Aggravated battery and assault incidents fell 23.8 percent — from 126 to 96.
And calls for shots fired declined 28.3 percent — from 180 to 129.
In 2011 the department concluded two major undercover narcotics operations aimed at reducing violent crime.
"Operation Bloodhound" targeted the “Belizean Bloods” street gang and "Operation Replay" focused on narcotics sales by street and mid-level dealers in Evanston and surrounding communities.
The two operations, conducted in cooperation with the FBI and the Cook County Sheriff's Department, netted a total of 54 arrests.
Police Cmdr. Jay Parrott says illegal drug dealing leads to violent crime within criminal organizations and the undercover operations disrupted the gangs that use firearms to conduct their day-to-day criminal enterprises.
The majority of crimes reported each year in Evanston are thefts. Thefts saw a 4 percent increase In 2011.
Parrott says many of the thefts are crimes of opportunity in which items were left unattended by the owner. Items stolen from unlocked cars account for 7 percent of all index crime incidents last year.
Top: Police at the scene of the fatal shooting of taxicab driver Leodis Blackburn in the 500 block of Elmwood Avenue on May 15, 2011 one of the three murders last year in Evanston.