Evanston’s murder rate has remained essentially unchanged over the past decade while the rate has risen in some other large Chicago suburbs and fallen in the city.

A Chicago Tribune study of crime rates in the 47 Chicago suburbs with over 30,000 residents shows a sharp increase, from 64 murders in 2001 to 90 in 2005.

The 10-year average rate for murders in the 47 suburbs is 3.03 per 100,000 people per year. But the rate rose from about 2.54 to 3.57 between 2001 and 2005.

That’s still below the national average murder rate, which FBI figures show was 5.5 in 2004.

And it’s far below the murder rate in Chicago. But Chicago’s rate has declined from 22.9 in 2001 to 15.5 in 2005.

Evanston’s homicide count has varied from from one to three per year over the decade, and stood at two in both 2001 and 2005. The annual rate across the decade works out to 2.67 for Evanston.

Evanston’s rate is higher than the rate in some nearby communities. Skokie’s average rate for the decade is 2.19. Oak Park’s is 2.16. Highland Park’s is 1.28. And, the rate in Arlington Heights is 0.53.

The recent increase in suburban murder rates has hit both southern Cook County and other towns ranging from Elgin to Cicero.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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