Although a third of the juveniles arrested by Evanston police live outside of Evanston, excluding them from the analysis doesn’t much change the overall disparity in arrest rates by race.

In response to a Freedom of Information Act request by Evanston Now, the Evanston Police Department provided data on the hometowns of juveniles arrested between 2014 and 2016.

As it turned out, there were only slight differences in the racial distribution of arrestees from Evanston versus the total pool of those arrested — less than a percentage point for blacks, less than two percentage points for whites and about one percentage point for Hispanics.

But some fairly large differences emerged in the rate at which blacks youths were arrested compared to their share of the population in their home communities.

Blacks who live in Evanston were four-and-a-half times more likely to be arrested by Evanston police than would be predicted by their share of Evanston’s population They experienced 74.5 percent of arrests of Evanstonians while blacks represent only 16.6 percent of the Evanston population in the latest data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.

Blacks who live in Chicago were 2.6 times more likely to be arrested. They were 80.5 percent of Chicagoans arrested while representing only 32.2 percent of Chicago’s population.

Blacks who live in Skokie were 9.7 times more likely to be arrested. They were 82.6 percent of Skokie residents arrested while representing only 6.5 percent of Skokie’s population.

While the data from the police department provided zip codes for only a subset of all arrests, there’s some indication from the data that a larger share of the Chicago juveniles arrested came from the Rogers Park and West Ridge zip codes, which have a lower percentage of black residents than Chicago as a whole.

Other data from the police department indicates that when crime victims in Evanston are able to provide a description of a suspect, they are far more likely to say the suspect was black than a member of any other racial or ethnic group.

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Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. The problem with this data…

    The problem with this data is the same juvenile from Skokie could have been arrested ten times. 

    1. Hum …

      I agree that it would be interesting to know the net number of juveniles who had ever been arrested — subtracting multiple arrests of the same person.

      But assuming that members of all groups have the potential to be arrested multiple times, I don’t see that that would necessarily affect the analysis of the proportion of arrests of members of a group to that group’s share of the total population.

      — Bill

      1. Agreed

        You are right Bill, however; I believe all this data being released by EPD recently is attempting to prove minorities, especially blacks, are arrested at a higher rate. My point is one black juvenile capsule be arrested 50 times for stealing candy, while five white juveniles could be arrested for murder. While the recently released data would suggest black juveniles are arrested 10 times more than whites, actually five times more whites were arrested for more severe crimes. All data, especially a vague chart like this one, is vulnerable to cherry picking to further a political agenda. That’s all. 

  2. You do the crime, you do the time

    If a person commits a crime, they should be arrested. Full stop. Period. That’s it.

    If there are a disproportional number of black, white, purple, green and organge citizens getting arrested, maybe that’s a sign of other societal factors.

    Indeed, it could mean that there is institutional racism or there are inherent biases exhibited by some members, maybe all members of the police force. Or it could mean something else. I recognize and understand racism exists in our community and across our country, but just because more black citizens are getting arrested doesn’t by itself suggest or indicate that it is race related.

    While it’s easy and convenient to suggest or imply that race is the reason, maybe people should take a step back and digest the information, and make sure they have all the information before jumping to a conclusion.

    Crime and race are serious issues that should be addressed appropriately and not casually.


  3. Avoidance or denial

    The flaw many journalists and aldermen commit is that they think arrests by race should mirror the demographics of Evanston, or any city. Not true. Driving stops, for instance, should reflect the racial composition of the driving population. This figure, derived from state estimates, shows a higher black percentage than residence numbers. More difficult for our aldermen and local vocals to grasp is the percent of suspects described as black, in your link above. It is abundantly clear that blacks commit more crime in this town than whites. We should focus our energies on understanding why that is and then try to tailor meaningful, effective solutions. Stop scapegoating the police, that is definitely not a solution. Being human, once they’ve had enough of this city’s wrath, they will understandably perform the bare minimum. Just look at Chicago…and that was spurred by a shooting death of a black teen, not a kid getting a city ticket! Nobody will be around to ensure our downtown isn’t overrun/degraded by large groups of kids who don’t know how to conduct themselves in public and whose go to language with the police is a repeated f-bomb. As downtown goes, so goes our budget. Then higher taxes will force more low income people out. Let’s get a grip here before this town spirals downward. 

  4. Juvenile Arrests in Evanston and Skokie

    We should look at the data and ask, what is the racial distribution of those who choose to violate laws and civil order. It all comes down to everything you learned in kindergarden.  Follow the rules, dont hit others, and dont take what is not yours.  Say please, thank you, and be kind to others. 

  5. They committed a crime!
    Why can’t people accept this? They (whomever they are) committed a crime! Hello…?!

    1. Test the hypothesis of racism

      Since some believe the police target blacks and low income areas, we should test this. Pull all police patrols from  those areas and move them to from Lincoln to Isabella and Sheridan to Ridge [or maybe Crawford?]. Then if the hypothesis is true we should see a dramatic increase in white arrest and tickets.

      Likewise the minority/low income areas would see a dramatic decrease in crime  and arrests as complainers maintain area really just police prejudice.

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