Evanston’s crime rate appears to have declined again last year, based on an analysis of monthly police crime report data.

Three of the four types of crime included in the monthly reports declined from 2004 to 2005. Robberies dropped from 154 to 109. Burglaries declined from 1,327 to 1,251. Auto thefts fell from 129 to 106. However, reported incidents of aggravated assault and battery increased from 24 to 107. Overall, the four crime categories dropped an average of four percent.

The department’s official annual report is scheduled to be issued later this month. It covers eight types of crime, four more than the monthly reports. And the numbers may vary as a result of reclassification of incidents based on investigations conducted after the initial reports on which the monthly figures are based.

Police Chief Frank Kaminski and Deputy Chief Joseph Bellino were both on vacation Monday and could not be reached for comment on the crime data.

Commander James Pickett said department officials are still compiling figures for the annual report, but he noted that the number of homicides in Evanston declined from three in 2004 to two in 2005.

The other three crime categories included in the annual index report are rape, arson and theft.

Evanston’s rate of index crimes reached a peak in 1997 of 7,669 incidents and fell over 50 percent to 3,411 in 2004.

The Chicago Tribune reported last week that preliminary figures show a 3 percent decline in violent crime and an 8 percent drop in property crime in Chicago last year.

Crime statistics nationwide are compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation from local police reports. The latest FBI figures, comparing the first six months of 2005 to the same period in 2004, show a drop nationwide of 0.5 percent in violent crime and a decline of 2.8 percent in property crimes.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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