Evanston Township Assessor Sharon Eckersall admitted Tuesday that she keeps the door to the assessor’s office locked during business hours because of concerns about crime after a laundramat in the shopping center where the office is located was held up recently.

Evanston Township Assessor Sharon Eckersall admitted Tuesday that she keeps the door to the assessor’s office locked during business hours because of concerns about crime after a laundramat in the shopping center where the office is located was held up recently.

The assessor’s office is especially busy this month with taxpayers requesting help filing appeals of their recent property tax reassessment notices.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, said, “Those doors to the assessor’s office need to be unlocked and available to the public.”

“There are a series of businesses in that strip mall” on the southwest corner of Main Street and Dodge Avenue, Ald. Rainey added, “They all keep their doors unlocked — and there are people in those stores who have to keep money on hand.”

“Nobody takes crime more seriously than I do,” she said, “but if this corner is too dangerous, we need to intensify the police presence.”

“If the area is too dangerous for workers in the office, then why should the public be kept waiting out on the dangerous corner waiting for them to answer the door?”

Township Supervisor Patricia Vance said she keeps the outside door to her office, located around the corner in the same shopping center, open, but that space also has an inner door which she can lock if necessary.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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